South Jersey Couple Who Defrauded Investors
Agree to Pay Restitution and Civil Penalty
NEWARK - A South Jersey couple who offered two investors the opportunity to invest in building lots they falsely claimed to own and upon which they claimed houses would be developed, have agreed to pay restitution and civil penalties, under a settlement with the New Jersey Bureau of Securities.
Dennis Bracall, 62, and Maria Bracall, 53, husband and wife residing in Ventnor, and the company they control, Pro-Tech Enterprises, LLC, have agreed to pay $35,000 by August 31, under the Administrative Consent Order entered with the Bureau. If the August 31 deadline is not met, the Bracalls must pay $30,000 and the company must pay $30,000.
The Bracalls operated a modular home business, Pro-Tech Custom Modular Homes, Inc. They offered two modular home customers the opportunity to invest a total of $125,000 in their alleged housing development project located in Middle Township, named Hawks Landing.
The Bracalls falsely represented to the investors that they would erect ten luxury modular homes on ten lots owned by the Bracalls and a business partner. The investment contract provided that the investors would receive $12,500 towards their principal amount and a $5,000 dividend upon the settlement of each home.
In reality, the Bracalls owned only two of the ten lots, according to the Bureau Chief’s findings as stated in the Order. Furthermore, the Bracalls commingled the investors’ funds and used the majority of the funds to work on other properties and projects.
The $125,000 was not returned to the investors, nor were the promised interest payments and dividends paid.
"The Bracalls defrauded these investors, using a past business dealing as a means to carry out their scheme. Consumers should always be cautious when offered an investment opportunity, even if it comes from someone they know from previous associations," said Acting State Consumer Affairs Director Eric T. Kanefsky.
"Investors should be dubious when they are offered high rates of return at a time when bank CDs, Treasury notes and other low-risk investments are paying low rates of return," said Abbe R. Tiger, Chief of the N.J. Bureau of Securities. "Risk assessment should be part of every investor’s planning before deciding where to invest their hard-earned dollars."
The Bureau of Securities can be contacted toll-free within New Jersey at 1-866-I-INVEST (1-866-446-8378) or from outside New Jersey at 973-504-3600. The Bureau's website is located at www.njsecurities.gov.
Deputy Attorney General Stacy-Ann Davy in the Securities Fraud Prosecution Section of the Division of Law represented the state in this matter. Investigator Isaac Reyes in the Bureau of Securities conducted the investigation.