SEC Charges Additional Defendant in Phony Certificates of Deposit Scam

Washington D.C., Jan. 5, 2022 —

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Allen C. Giltman, a former registered investment professional, with allegedly participating in a long-running fraudulent scheme to lure investors into buying fictitious certificates of deposit (CDs). The scheme resulted in victims, primarily older adults investing their retirement savings, losing at least $40 million.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Giltman purchased internet ads targeting investors searching for CDs with high interest rates. The ads allegedly included links to phony websites Giltman helped create, many of which mimicked those of existing financial institutions, in order to offer investors fictitious CDs, which the websites falsely claimed were FDIC-insured. As alleged in the SEC’s complaint, when investors called the phone numbers listed on the websites, Giltman impersonated registered representatives at the legitimate firms and instructed victims to wire funds to domestic or foreign bank accounts, purportedly to purchase the CDs. The SEC alleges that investor funds were then misappropriated as part of the scheme, with Giltman receiving a portion of the funds. The SEC also alleges that Giltman used a variety of methods to evade detection, including attempting to anonymize his digital footprint by using the identities of victims to register for online services used in the scheme.

In March 2020, the SEC charged another alleged participant in the scheme, Denis Sotnikov.

“Protecting retirees and older adults reliant on their investments is one of the most important missions of the Commission,” said Anita B. Bandy, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “We will continue to use every tool available to hold bad actors who use elaborate means to avoid detection accountable for preying on U.S. investors.”

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, charges Giltman with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and seeks permanent injunctive relief, the return of allegedly ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty. Giltman has consented to permanent and conduct-based injunctions, with monetary relief to be decided later by the court.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today announced that Giltman pled guilty in a parallel criminal case.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Elizabeth Doisy and Douglas McAllister, as well as Martin Zerwitz, Deborah Tarasevich, and Paul Kim of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. Donato Furlano and Peter Rosario assisted with the investigation. The investigation was supervised by Kristina Littman, Chief of the Cyber Unit, and Ms. Bandy. The litigation will be led by James Connor and John Bowers. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

To learn more about how to protect yourself from fraud, please visit these previously issued SEC investor alerts:

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