The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York last week entered a final judgment against a former New Jersey broker who was civially charged by the SEC with defrauding elderly clients.

Under the consent order, Joseph Orazio DeGregorio was made to repay more than $1 million in ill-gotten gains and was permanently prohibited from further fraudulent activity, effectively ending his career in the securities business.

DeGregorio was a broker for 14 years for 14 different firms. That ended in 2007, when he was suspended by Finra for failure to pay an arbitration settlement to one of those former employers.

In March 2022, DeGregorio, then 45 years old, was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with swindling some $1.2 million from elderly clients over a five-year period.

According to the SEC's press release, DeGregorio targeted clients between the ages of 78 and 94 with cold calls promising a guaranteed 13% annual return if they would invest with him. Between October 2015 and March 2021, he solicited just under $1 million from one 80-year-old victim and another $205,000 or so from other elderly investors, promising to purchase promissory notes and invest the funds in two private companies.

The promissory notes never existed, the SEC charged, and the companies were owned by him and “created for the sole purpose of facilitating his fraud.” They did not, in fact, “carry out any actual business activities,” the press release stated.

Instead, he used most of the $1.2 million for “personal expenses and gambling,” the SEC said, and none of the money was used for legitimate investments.

The SEC charged DeGregorio with violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and 1934, among other antifraud rules.

In March 2023, the court entered a bifurcated consent judgment, which essentially divided the case into two stages for trial. the SEC said. First, it enjoined DeGregorio from “violating the charged provisions,” effectively blocking further fraudulent activity. Then, at the end of last week, the court made that prohibition permanent and accepted his repayment of most of the pilfered funds, which he technically forfeited in response to a parallel criminal proceeding, the SEC said.