In Re: Bocchino, No. 14-4299 (3d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
In 1996, Bocchino, a stockbroker, learned from a superior that Traderz “might go public” and that the endeavor was supported by “some commitment” from a popular fashion model. Based solely on that, and without any independent investigation into the quality of the entity, Bocchino immediately sought investment from clients. Bocchino received over $40,000 in commissions from Traderz sales. The second involved Fargo. The source of Bocchino’s information regarding Fargo is unclear. Bocchino only obtained cursory documentation about the entity before soliciting sales. He did not conduct any independent investigation, despite awareness that Fargo’s principal’s “full-time ‘job’ was law student.” Bocchino received $14,000 in commissions for his clients’ stock purchases in Fargo. Traderz and Fargo turned out to be fraudulent ventures. The principals of each entity were criminally convicted, and the anticipated value of the investments vanished. The Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil law enforcement actions against those who sold investments in the entities. The bankruptcy court held that those civil judgments against Bocchino were nondischargeable, 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(2)(A). The district court and Third Circuit affirmed, finding that collapse of the private placements was neither abnormal nor extraordinary given Bocchino’s lack of due diligence.