Shore investment advisor admits defrauding clients, awaits sentencing
A financial advisor from Wall Township, with an office in Toms River, prepares for a possible 10-year prison term, for pocketing what is believed to more than $1,000,000 belonging to elderly victims over a seven-year span.
Peter Martorana, 62, operator of Retirement Benefit Specialists, pleaded guilty February 1 to one first-degree count of financial facilitation of criminal activity in excess of $500,000, according to the office of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato. Sentencing is scheduled for July 7, 2017.
Officials alleged that Martorana systematically preyed on victims in their 70s, 80s and 90s between 2006 and 2013. He was arrested in July of that year, accused at the time of diverting about $75,000.
At his Holiday City office, Martorana persuaded clients to write checks to him, and to his business, convincing them that he would invest their money, investigators said.
County high-tech crime detectives, assisted by police in Berkeley and Wall Townships, began the probe after being contacted by an investigator for OceanFirst Bank, who raised suspicions about transactions in a client's account.
"Ocean County has a senior population that is particularly vulnerable to fraudsters like Martorana," Coronato said in prepared remarks.
"This should send a message to others of his ilk that such behavior will not be tolerated. Anyone entrusting their money to a financial adviser should be sure they are reputable and properly licensed".
The probe was led by Detective James Conroy of the Prosecutor's Economic Crimes Unit, assited by Lieutenant Vincent Petrecca in the Prosecutor's Office. Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Martin Anton conducted the state's case.