January 10, 2007
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
This case was prosecuted by Office of the Attorney
General, Criminal Investigations with the assistance of the Maryland
The case was referred for criminal investigation by the Attorney
General’s Securities Division.