Toms River Man Convicted For Theft & Money Laundering

Photo courtesy Attorney General's Office

TOMS RIVER – A Toms River man was convicted on the afternoon of May 8 for using his securities trading company to steal more than $400,000 from investors, according to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

43-year old Jeffrey D. Griffin has been convicted on five counts, charging him with theft by deception, misapplication of entrusted property, two counts of violation of New Jersey’s Uniform Securities Act, and money laundering, all in the second degree.

He was convicted by a Passaic County jury before Superior Court Judge Joseph Portelli in Paterson. He is currently being detained in jail and sentencing is scheduled for June 1.

“This verdict was the result of tremendous collaboration between our Bureau of Securities, which investigates allegations of securities fraud, and the Division of Criminal Justice, which prosecutes those who commit securities fraud,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I am incredibly proud of our trial team and all of the investigators, detectives, and prosecutors who made this verdict possible. This conviction is a great example of our Department’s divisions working together to protect both our financial markets and the residents of New Jersey.”

Griffin was found guilty of stealing funds from investors by depositing them into his securities trading company and then using the money for personal expenses.

“Griffin lied to clients about how their funds would be invested and led certain victims to falsely believe they were investing through a securities firm where he previously worked as an agent,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Once Griffin gained control of investor funds, he shamelessly stole them by diverting them for his own purposes. He now faces a substantial prison sentence.”

All of the charges against Griffin are second-degree charges, which carry a sentence of 5-10 years in state prison and up to $150,000 in fines. The money laundering charge carries an additional anti-money laundering profiteering penalty of up to $250,000

Testimony and evidence presented by the state shows:

  • From August 2010 through July 2011, Griffin stole $408,000 from four investors – three men and one woman. The funds were deposited by Griffin into his newly formed company, Tricep Trading LLC.
  • Griffin had worked as a stockbroker for another investment firm, but he left that firm to form Tricep in August 2010.
  • The three men had been clients of Griffin at the prior firm, and Griffin led two of them to believe that their funds were still being invested through that firm or through a new division of the firm that Griffin was heading.
  • One had $100,000 of his funds deposited into the Tricep business account without his knowledge. He received checks totaling $39,000 from Griffin before Tricep ran out of funds, for a net loss of $61,000.
  • Griffin told the other three victims that he would be investing on their behalf through hedge fund-type investments or day trading. The other two men each invested $25,000 and received no returns. The woman invested $324,000 and received $27,000 in checks from Griffin, for a net loss of $297,000.
  • Griffin transferred funds from the Tricep business account into his personal account and used the Tricep account to make numerous ATM withdrawals and retail purchases.
  • He transferred $25,000 from Tricep to a firm that engaged in real estate flipping, but did not record that as an investment for Tricep.
  • He used another $120,000 – which he first transferred to his personal account – to open an account with a day trading firm that prohibits members from trading other investors’ money.

By May 2011, Tricep was out of funds.

Griffin’s registration as an agent of a broker-dealer was revoked in 2013 by the Bureau of Securities and he was also permanently barred him from associating with any broker-dealer or investment adviser conducting business in New Jersey. It also assessed a $125,000 civil penalty against Griffin and Tricep.

Investors who believe they have been defrauded are urged to contact the Division of Criminal Justice toll free at 866-TIPS-4CJ (866-847-7425) or the Bureau of Securities toll free at 866-I-INVEST (866-446-8378).  .