Retail Broker John Carris Investments Accused of Massive Fraud by Regulators

A New York City based retail broker is accused of running his firm rampant with stock manipulation and fraud. I reported today for Growth Capitalist that FINRA wants to shut down and impose hefty fines on George Carris, founder of John Carris Investments, along with executives with in his broker-dealer for a bucket list of nearly everything illegal a broker-deal could do to cheat main street investors and his staff.

John Carris Investments made headlines last year after former New Jersey Governor and failed MF Global CEO, John Corzine, was seen looking for office space to sublet in the firm’s office in the downtown Trump building. Corzine’s connection to the firm began when his investment manager in his family office, Nancy Dunlap, got involved in a private placement deal for an electric car. Dunlap was on the board of directors of AMP Holdings who hired George Carris’ firm to raise funds through a debt security called a PIPE. It’s unclear how much money was ever raised on the deal.

Carris stands accused of selling PIPE deals to mom and pop retail investors who are not accredited. If true, it’s a blatant violation of securities laws to sell debt instruments like this to non-sophisticated investors. On top that, his top lieutenants used the firm’s retail clients to make large buy orders in penny stocks in an effort to prop up the stock even though the clients had not ordered the stock buys.

Former staff says there were days they couldn’t trade because net capital limits were violated and bills were overdue with their clearing agent. Meanwhile, Carris would spend thousands on personal entertainment with the firm’s cash, according to the regulator’s complaint.

When retail brokers were fighting to keep their jobs after the financial crisis Carris got some bucks from his Dad to start the broker dealer firm in 2009 promising big bonuses and robust salaries to retail brokers who could bring in clients. When George decided the firm needed more cash, instead of natural revenue growth, they set up Invictus Capital and sold investor subscriptions into the fund through their retail brokers promising annual dividends off the revenue of John Carris Investments. Millions were raised but the first dividend payments were from new clients investing in Invictus. John Carris Investments was operating at millions in loss that year so it would have been impossible to pay real dividends as the offering documents said they would.

Growth Capitalist wrote, “In 2011, John Carris Investments operated at a net loss of $3,090,148 yet $39,342 of dividends were paid out during that year.” FINRA called those moves a Ponzi scheme.

Carris plans to fight the FINRA suit and is still running his firm at 40 Wall St. He would not comment about the litigation. It’s unclear how much capital is left within the broker dealer. The regulator said he also choose not to pay payroll taxes for his staff and owes the IRS around $600k.

FINRA quotes from mounds of internal firm documents it gathered and clearly did their home work building the complaint but this is not the first time Carris or others at the firm have had FINRA violations. Which begs to question how affective FINRA sanctions can be to protect retail clients. If all the evidence in their case is true I’d expect the justice department to come knocking on George Carris’ door sometime real soon.

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Comments

  1. The retail brokers in NYC know this shop is a boiler room it’s a shame it took FINRA so long to figure it out. How is Carris still getting clients?
    Good reporting Teri

    • From former employee: John Carris Investments true definition of boiler room. Brokers using mark up and mark down to hide their commission. Watch out!

    • Richard Rubenstein says:

      They cold call and have high pressure used car salesmen like frauds. Richard

  2. All true. Worked there. If you’re looking for the money. First stop should be Del Monicos.

  3. Dear Ms. Buhl,
    Thanks for the dope on George Carris a/k/a John Carris d/b/a John Carris Investments. I sensed it was not kosher. And thanks to you, I KNOW it’s not kosher… just another boiler-room in the sky!

    Yours truly,

    David Weinflash

  4. I worked as a broker at JCI I can tell you I watched them manipulate trading. George Carris violated every labor law possible including sexual harassment and physical and pychological abusive behavior. All he does is spend spend, spend, usually alcohol and going out. It was a total boiler room. Its pure Greed. Places like this should be shut down and he should be barred from the industry. He will never change.

  5. I just got a very strange call from this guy George Carris about his “aggressive” Ridgeback, Rumi. I declined to take him as a customer, as his “story” became rambling and he was refusing to answer key questions I was asking. The more questions I asked, the more apparent it was becoming to me that his situation was being presented by him in an overly complicated way, and that he needed to control the conversation – therefore, I wasn’t being allowed to do my intake with him effectively. I post here now because his behavior was odd enough to cause me to look him up, and I’m very concerned about his ownership of the firearms mentioned. He was angry enough at my declining to work with him and his dog to call me back several times and harass me, saying things and making accusations about me that made no sense. Mainly I declined his business because the residence I felt was in question was in PA, and area I don’t service, even though he lives in Hoboken. Actually, it’s really hard to say where he lives. In one short conversation he mentioned three residences ansd two wives. Hard to keep up with this guy! Anyway, I wanted to go on record somewhere because of the magnitude of his very abrupt anger and the fact that he has recently spent a lot of money on firearms. He didn’t seem stable to me, and I just want to make sure I’m safe. Anyone know him personally? Is there anywhere I can view a photo of him so I’m not taken by surprise should he decide to take his anger further?

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