How a Toms River investor burned $400K belonging to clients
TOMS RIVER — A former investment banker will be going to jail after he was convicted of stealing more than $400,000 from four clients over the course of 11 months.
Jeffrey D. Griffin Jr., 43, was convicted on all five counts against him by a jury in Ocean County, according to a press release from Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. During Griffin's trial it was revealed that he had recently formed his own investment firm called Tricep Trading after working at another investment firm. He convinced three clients from his former firm to come with him to his new business, leading two of them to believe that they would still be investing in the old firm, or through a new division of the old firm that he was leading.
One of the men had $100,000 of his money put into the account for Tricep without his knowledge, according to Grewal. The man got a check from Tricep for $39,000 before the company ran out of money, Grewal said. The other clients were told that their money would be put into hedge-fund like accounts or day traded. The men each invested $25,000 and got nothing back. A woman invested $324,000 and got back just $27,000, according to Grewal.
Griffin moved the money he made from his clients into his own personal account. From there he would take the money out of an ATM or use it to go shopping. He also put $25,000 into a firm that did real estate flipping but did not list that as an investment for the company. Griffin's largest move was to take $120,000 from the Tricep account and put it into his own account. He then invested that money with a day trading firm that bans the investment of other investors' money. By May 2011, Tricep was out of money.
Griffin, who represented himself at the trial, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 1. Each of the charges he was convicted of comes with a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The money laundering charge comes with an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty of up to $250,000.
Grewal said investors who believe they may have been the victim of a fraud are encouraged to contact the Division of Criminal Justice at 1-866-TIPS-4CJ, or the Bureau of Securities at 1-866-I-INVEST.