SWINDLED INVESTORS TO GET $5.15 MILLION

hot-topic rightCustomers of a penny-stock boiler room that operated out of an office on Half Mile Road in Lincroft will share in $5.15 million obtained by authorities from stock swindler Robert E. Brennan, according to a report today from NorthJersey.com.

The defunct firm, L.C. Wegard & Co., was a legitimate stock brokerage before Brennan secretly took it over in the early 1990s. But like First Jersey Securities, a firm whose ubiquitous commercials made Brennan famous in the 1970s and ’80s, Wegard became a high-pressure sales operation peddling stocks that Brennan secretly controlled.

Among Wegard’s offices was a large “boiler room” near exit 109 of the Parkway filled with young stockbrokers trained to push worthless stocks on unsuspecting using relentless cold-calling and high-pressure sales techniques.

After a civil suit, New Jersey securities regulators won a $45 million judgment against Brennan and the firm. But before the state could collect, Brennan filed for bankruptcy protection, claiming an inability to pay. The discovery of millions of dollars in offshore accounts led to federal charges of asset hiding and charges against Brennan of bankruptcy fraud.

NorthJersey.com quotes the receiver in the case as reporting that a federal court has now approved the disbursal of $5.15 million in assets recovered from Brennan to burned Wegard investors.

Sixty-five-year-old Brennan, formerly of Brielle and Colts Neck, was a major donor to Seton Hall University and other institutions. He is serving an 11-year sentence for bankruptcy fraud at the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa., due to be released next January.