Head of Health Care Charity Cops to $9M Theft

MANHATTAN (CN) — A New Jersey man pleaded guilty Friday to stealing millions from a health care charity to finance lavish tastes including luxury cars, expensive real estate and travel.

John Rogicki of Holmdel came to lead the health care company Kurr Foundation after its elderly founder, Sara Zock, died in 2001.

Now 67 himself, Rogicki pleaded guilty in Manhattan on Friday to betraying Zock’s trust by swiping more than $9 million from the foundation.

“Rogicki used the money for a variety of personal expenses, including properties in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Florida, luxury cars, including a Rolls-Royce, a Land Rover, a Lexus, and a Porsche, and vacations,” a statement of facts from his criminal case states.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also brought federal claims against Rogicki on Thursday.

A former adviser for the New York firm Train, Babcock Advisors LLC, Rogicki faces up to 7 1/2 years in prison upon his sentencing on Dec. 14, plus $2.5 million and a confession of judgement for approximately $6.7 million.

The most recent public filings for the Kurr Foundation estimated the fair-market value of its assets as roughly $6.4 million in 2015.

A Kurr Foundation representative declined to comment, and Rogicki could not be reached via the phone number listed on the foundation’s Form 990.

“As investment adviser to the foundation, Rogicki made all investment decisions for the Foundation, and directed purchases and sales of securities in the foundation advisory account at [Train, Babcock Advisors],” the SEC’s complaint states.

Gregory Ryan and Lewis Tesser, attorneys with the firm Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, said that Train, Babcock Advisors has been cooperating with the federal regulators.

“Mr. Rogicki’s misconduct was gross violation of everything that Train, Babcock Advisors LLC stands for,” Ryan and Tesser said in a statement.

“In addition to betraying the intent and wishes of the client, Mr. Rogicki betrayed the confidence and trust of everyone at TBA,” they added.

Regulators claim that Rogicki made more than 200  fraudulent transactions over the course of 12 years.

“Between 2004 and 2016, Rogicki carried out his fraud primarily by liquidating securities positions in the foundation advisory account, and then misappropriating trading proceeds by wiring the proceeds to himself from the foundation’s brokerage account to the account of the [Zock] estate, which he controlled, then transferring that money to himself or accounts for his benefit,” the 7-page SEC complaint states.

According to the foundation’s most recent Form 990 for 2015, Rogicki dedicated an average of two hours a week to the position, and his advisory firm collected more than $70,000 in compensation.

“Rogicki’s fraud and betrayal of his client’s trust were anathema to his legal obligations and responsibilities as an investment adviser,” the SEC’s complaint states.

Rogicki copped to grand larceny and money laundering charges, and also faces pending civil claims of violating the Advisers Act and the Exchange Act.

Regulators demand an injunction, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains and civil penalties.

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