Former Ft. Lauderdale Securities Professional Sentenced for Obstruction of Proceedings and Providing False Testimony Before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 09, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Robert J. Vitale, 42, of Ft. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, was sentenced today to 24 months’ imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, and three-years’ supervised release by U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard. Vitale was convicted of obstruction of proceedings and providing false testimony before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
According to court documents, in or around May 2012, the SEC was conducting an official investigation into allegations that Vitale engaged in violation of the securities laws. As part of the investigation, the SEC attempted to identify assets and bank accounts attributable to Vitale. On or about June 4, 2012, Vitale completed and provided to the SEC a “Background Questionnaire” form purporting to list bank accounts and other assets attributable to him. Shortly before completing the questionnaire, Vitale transferred $100,000 from an account that was disclosed on the form to a separate account that he controlled.
According to court documents, Vitale willfully failed to disclose the existence of the funds or the bank account holding the funds to the SEC. Thereafter, on June 5, 2012, Vitale provided sworn testimony to the SEC at the SEC’s Southeast Regional Offices in Miami, Florida. During this sworn testimony, Vitale provided false testimony about his assets and accounts, as well as the accuracy of the information provided on the form he had submitted to the SEC.
Previously, in an unrelated matter, Vitale was charged civilly with violating securities laws in 2004 and was the subject of Final Judgment in SEC v. Robert Vitale, et al., No. 04-60493 (the “2004 case”), in which he was ordered to pay disgorgement and civil penalties for violations of the federal securities laws. According to court records, as of June 2012, when he provided false sworn testimony and engaged in conduct designed to conceal his assets, Vitale had failed to satisfy his obligations from the 2004 case.
In addition to the sentence of 24-months’ imprisonment and $50,000 fine, during the defendant’s three-year supervised release term, he was ordered to have no involvement in the securities or real estate industries and no involvement in any investment business absent court permission.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the SEC. The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerrob Duffy.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.