NEWARK â€“ A Ventnor couple who offered two investors the opportunity to invest in Middle Township 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 Aug. 31, under an administrative consent order entered with the bureau. If the Aug. 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 10 luxury modular homes on 10 lots owned by the Bracalls and a business partner. The investment contract provided that the investors would receive $12,500 toward their principal amount and a $5,000 dividend upon the settlement of each home.
In reality, the Bracalls owned only two of the 10 lots, according to the Bureauâ€™s findings as stated in the order. Furthermore, the Bracalls commingled the investorsâ€™ 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.
â€śThe Bracalls defrauded these investors, using a past business dealing as a means to carry out their scheme,â€ť said Acting State Consumer Affairs Director Eric T. Kanefsky.
â€śInvestors 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,â€ť said Abbe R. Tiger, chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities. â€śRisk assessment should be part of every investorâ€™s planning before deciding where to invest their hard-earned dollars.â€ť
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.
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