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For Immediate Release
January 10, 2007
Media Contact:
Christine Hansen, 410-576-6956

UNREGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISOR
PLEADS GUILTY TO FELONY THEFT SCHEME


Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Joseph Alphonso Engerman, Jr., age 40, formerly of Kings Way in Upper Marlboro, pled guilty to stealing $89,622.00 from three investors who gave him money after he misrepresented himself as a registered investment advisor and the owner of an investment firm. The Honorable Sheila Tillerson Adams scheduled sentencing for March 30, 2007.

By his guilty plea, Joseph Engerman, Jr. admitted that he lost his status as a lawfully registered investment advisor in March 1998. However, between February 9, 1999 and continuing until May 17, 2001, he expressly misrepresented himself to prospective investors as a registered investment advisor and his business, Engerman Investment Center, as a legal securities brokerage firm. Three investors named in the case trusted him and relied on his representations.

Two victims met the defendant through church (World Mission Ministries Church). The defendant came to the first investor’s Prince George’s County home and took a check for $18,000.00 made payable to Engerman Investment Center. Later, this fellow parishioner unwittingly invested an additional $1,772.42 through the defendant’s bogus investment firm. The defendant outright stole $9,772.47. The remainder was virtually traded away in risky margin trading. The second parishioner invested a total of $221,241.05. Of this amount, she invested $64,850.00 directly through the defendant and his investment firm. Joseph Engerman never invested this money, but converted it all to his personal use.

The third investor/victim met Engerman though a co-worker. She expected the defendant to follow the conservative investment strategy that he presented when she gave him a total of $27,000.00. Instead, Engerman stole $15,000.00 and lost the rest in margin trading never authorized by the victim.

The State further described the manner in which some of the stolen money was used by Joseph Engerman---to pay his home mortgage, to build a music studio in his home, clothing, car repairs, airfare, and his insurance premiums. He also used the investors’ money to pay back other investors and to maintain the pretense of Engerman Investment Center.

This case was prosecuted by Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Investigations with the assistance of the Maryland State Police. The case was referred for criminal investigation by the Attorney General’s Securities Division.


   

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