West Olive man admits to federal securities fraud

Ottawa County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An Ottawa County man has admitted to pretending to be a securities broker, defrauding investors out of about $2.7 million.

Joshua Rupp, 37, of West Olive, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in federal court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

Federal investigators say that between 2015 and 2019, Rupp lied to investors, telling them he was a licensed trader even though he is not. He presented himself as a representative of two different firms, making up people who worked there, including one who he said was his uncle. Authorities say he faked documents to convince people he was legitimate.

In all, authorities say, Rupp took in $2.7 million from his investors. About $500,000 of that, they say, he stole. Most of the rest of it he lost while trying to trade securities.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Rupp is expected to be sentenced to pay bay all the ill-gotten money. He could also be ordered to serve up to 25 years in a federal prison. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

“Securities trading is a risky business, and for good reason the professionals who do it are licensed and specially trained,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a Friday statement. “This defendant misrepresented his qualifications to trade on behalf of investors in order to obtain money, lied about the performance of their investments, and misappropriated significant portions of the investments for his own personal gain. He has taken the first step toward making amends by accepting responsibility for this serious crime.”

Authorities say there may be more people out there who lost their money to Rupp. If you think you are one of them, you can call the U.S. Attorney at 616.808.2034.

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