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TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a New York City man was charged with theft today for allegedly stealing approximately $794,000 from investors in New Jersey and New York and using much of the money to gamble.

The Division of Criminal Justice today filed a criminal complaint charging Sam A. Antar, 44, of New York, N.Y., with second-degree theft by deception and second-degree securities fraud. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau.

After he was furloughed from a marketing job with an investment firm in New Jersey, Antar began soliciting investors for an investment scheme that purportedly involved buying shares in emerging companies whose stock had not yet begun trading publicly through an initial public offering (“pre-IPO shares”). From late 2018 through May 2019, Antar allegedly obtained approximately $794,000 from multiple individuals by falsely promising to use their money to buy and quickly resell – or “flip” – pre-IPO shares in order to generate profits for the investors. It is alleged that, in fact, Antar never invested the victims’ money. Instead he allegedly used much of the money for gambling and personal spending.

The Division of Criminal Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) conducted parallel investigations of the alleged thefts committed by Antar. Today the SEC filed a civil complaint against Antar.

“We are committed to protecting New Jersey investors by aggressively investigating and prosecuting those who engage in securities fraud,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We will continue to coordinate our efforts with civil enforcement authorities, including the New Jersey Bureau of Securities and, in this case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

“Antar allegedly stole more than three-quarters of a million dollars from victims who trusted him to invest their money as promised,” said Director Veronica Allende. “Instead he allegedly used their money for gambling or spent it on himself and his family. Along with the SEC, we are seeking justice and restitution for his victims.”

Deputy Attorney General Thomas Huynh is prosecuting the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau. Detectives John Campanella and Seth Thomas are lead detectives.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, The complaint is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Defense Attorney: : Joseph Giaramita, Esq., Brooklyn, N.Y.