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Bergen father, son charged with scamming investors out of $3.5 million

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Bergen County father and son conned more than two dozen investors out of $3.5 million that they used to buy two Maseratis and a Ferrari, among other goodies for themselves, state authorities allege.

Other family members benefitted from the money stolen from 26 investors through the sale of unregistered security notes by George J. Bussanich, 55, of Park Ridge and his 34-year-old son, George Bussanich of Upper Saddle River, the NJ Division of Law says in a lawsuit filed in Newark.

“This was not a legitimate investment gone bad, but a scam by the defendants to line their pockets and live the high life … on the backs of defrauded investors,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said this morning.

The younger George Bussanich previously worked for an investment firm that fired him when it discovered his unreported outside activities, including the sale of the unregistered securities, Hoffman said.

A self-regulatory organization earlier this month barred him from associating with any of its members “in any capacity,” he added.

Investors bought notes that carried a 6%-8% annual rate of return and were told that the money would be used for Metropolitan Ambulatory Surgical Center, LLC in Cliffside Park and the senior Bussanich’s other companies, the lawsuit charges.

Contrary to its name, Metropolitan Ambulatory Surgical Center isn’t a surgical center, but, rather, a holding company controlled by Bussanich Sr., it says.

The state’s lawsuit, filed in Essex County Superior Court, names the Bussanichs and the business as defendants, with various Bussanich family members who allegedly received investor funds for their personal use as nominal defendants.

State authorities asked a judge to immediately freeze the assets of everyone named in the suit, appoint a receiver to take title to and possession of their property and review all financial books and records.

They also revoked the agent registration of the younger Bussanich, while preventing him, his father and the Metropolitan Ambulatory Surgical Center from “utilizing the exemptions available from registration under the state’s Securities Law.”

“Financial fraud may be non-violent, but it is harmful conduct,” state Division of Consumer Affairs Director Eric T. Kanefsky said. “Some investors in this matter have hundreds of thousands of dollars at risk.”

The investigation was conducted by Rudolph G. Bassman, the chief of enforcement for the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, and Supervising Investigator Peter Cole. Deputy Attorneys General Stacy-Ann T. Davy , Victoria Manning and Isabella Stempler of the of the Securities Fraud Prosecution Section in the Division of Law are prosecuting, assisted by Mehnaz Rahim, a Law Division volunteer attorney.

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