New Jersey Bureau of Securities Obtains $23 Million Default Judgment Against Branded Marketing Investment Scammer And His Companies
NEWARK – The New Jersey Bureau of Securities has obtained a default judgment totaling more than $23 million in restitution, disgorgement, and civil penalties against Haskell-based Branded Marketing LLC (also known as 1800tarjetas.com), its successor company Branded Marketing, Inc., and its President and CEO, Richard Jackowitz, and affiliated company IT Connect, Inc., all controlled by Jackowitz, for their role in an investment scam that raised more than $4 million from unsuspecting investors.
"Jackowitz cheated investors out of more than $4 million, which he used to bankroll a lavish lifestyle of travel, spa services and fine dining," Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. "This defendant was a conscienceless con artist dressed up like a legitimate financial professional."
Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said, "This default judgment is a step toward righting the wrongs committed by Jackowitz and the Branded Marketing companies against defrauded investors."
Bureau of Securities Chief Laura H. Posner said, "In addition to Jackowitz's lies to investors and egregious misuse of their funds, this was a classic example of the sale of unregistered securities by unregistered agents. Investors can protect themselves from fraudsters like Jackowitz by contacting the Bureau of Securities before they turn over their hard-earned money to learn whether the investments and the persons selling the investments are registered."
Jackowitz, of Warwick, New York, the Jackowitz-controlled Branded Marketing entities, and two employee defendants, Anthony Uva of Skillman and Dr. Patrick Gainey of Belle Mead, raised more than $4 million from investors between 2007 and 2010, while committing violations of New Jersey's Uniform Securities law. Jackowitz and his companies defrauded investors by, among other things:
- Misrepresenting that the investor funds would be used for legitimate operating expenses of the Branded Marketing entities. Instead, more than $2 million of those funds would be misused by Jackowitz for, among other things, personal expenses including travel, spa services, restaurants and personal goods, and to fund a separate company, IT Connect, Inc., owned by Jackowitz.
- Selling unregistered securities by unregistered agents;
- Failing to disclose Jackowitz's prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in which he discharged nearly $5 million in debt under a 2006 court order;
- Filing false tax returns and failing to disclose income from this scam; and
- Failing to disclose that Jackowitz and IT Connect, Inc. were the subject of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) citations and/or actions beginning in 2007 which obligated them to pay more than $3 million to the FCC regarding the sale of 1-800 telephone numbers.
The Default Judgment orders that Jackowitz, Branded Marketing, LLC, and Branded Marking, Inc., are jointly and severally liable to pay $4.1 million in restitution to investors. Jackowitz, individually, must pay $9.2 million in civil penalties. The Branded Marketing entities must also pay $9.2 million in civil penalties. IT Connect was ordered to disgorge $771,535.28 of investor funds that were improperl6y transferred to its account. Jackowitz also is permanently barred from engaging in the securities industry in New Jersey.
In August 2014, the Bureau of Securities announced separate settlements with Uva and Gainey, in which they agreed to pay restitution totaling $125,000 and were barred from working in the securities industry in New Jersey.
Jackowitz is currently serving an 18 month sentence in federal prison for filing false tax returns which failed to report income from Branded Marketing, LLC.
Supervising Investigator Michael McElgunn and Investigator Michael LaChapelle of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities investigated this matter.
Deputy Attorneys General Victoria Manning and Nicholas Kant, of the Division of Law, represented the State in this matter.
The Bureau of Securities can assist investors in determining whether those selling securities, as well as securities offered for sale, are registered or are exempt from registration. The Bureau can be contacted toll-free within New Jersey at
1-866-I-INVEST (1-866-446-8378) or from outside New Jersey at
973-504-3600. The Bureau's website is
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on
Facebook , and check our online calendar of upcoming
Consumer Outreach events.