Centaurus Financial & JP Turner Brokers Including Cindy Chiellini, Atul Makharia and Greg Scott Young Targeted South Carolina & Tennessee Retirees in Structured Products Scam

Accused of Defrauding Plant Workers, Including Retirees

Centaurus Financial advisor Ricky Mantei (Mantei Group), formerly a JP Turner stockbroker, is alleged to have been the mastermind behind a large enterprise that spanned four offices in two states and resulted in the retirement savings of many unsuspecting investors being lost.  

Mantei is now named in 35 customer disputes. The majority, 30 of these broker fraud complaints, were filed over the last two years and many of them are still pending. Most of the complaints filed in the last two years accuse Mantei of heading up a one size fits all investment fraud that overconcentrated customers’ accounts in structured products and other risky, illiquid, and speculative investments. Many of his alleged victims were retirees, including plant workers in South Carolina and Tennessee.

Mantei’s alleged defrauding of investors occurred first while he was a JP Turner broker and now has continued at Centaurus Financial.  According to the complaints that have been filed, Mantei was the leader of the Mantei group within JP Turner and now also at Centaurus Financial that involved a number of other financial advisors.  

Not only that but there are other JP Turner/Centaurus brokers who sold many older and inexperienced investors complicated structured products that caused much financial harm. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) is currently representing a number of customers of JP Turner and Centaurus Financial related to these claims.  Contact our investor fraud attorneys today.

Structured Products Scheme was Run Out of Centaurus Financial and JP Turner Branch Offices

Ricky Mantei, although a Centaurus employee, has been operating under the Mantei Group, which includes over a dozen other brokers. Mantei is accused of developing a business model that allowed him to pay the other brokers a salary while he received all the commissions.

Names of other JP Turner and Centaurus brokers involved in this structured products scam

  • Cindy Chiellini
  • Atul Makharia
  • Greg Scott Young
  • Andrew Hall
  • Hunter Walters-McCarthy
  • Dana Matthew Hawkins

All of these financial advisors previously worked with JP Turner before joining Mantei at Centaurus, although Andrew Hall is now an Edward Jones broker. 

The majority of Tennessee investors worked with Makharia, although Chiellini is named as the broker of record. She is based in South Carolina and has 38 customer disputes on her record, many still pending. Makharia is named in at least 8 customer disputes.

Ricky Mantei Accused Of Unsuitable Investment Recommendations And Breach Of Fiduciary Duty

According to Mantei’s BrokerCheck record, the majority of the nearly three dozen customer complaints against him are alleging unsuitable investment recommendations and breach of fiduciary duty. The claimants are seeking significant damages.  

One customer complaint that names Ricky Mantei but lists JP Turner and Centaurus Financial as the respondents was filed late last year by an elderly couple. 

They contend that not only did Mantei overconcentrate their account in unsuitable investments including structured products, foreign bonds, and nontraded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) but also, among other allegations, that their funds were mismanaged, the investments were misrepresented, and the two broker-dealers failed to properly supervise Mantei and the other brokers that were working under him. 

The couple, who are in their sixties, had both worked for Eastman Chemical Company in North East Tennessee.  It appears that JP Turner/Centaurus representatives from the Johnson City, Tennessee branch targeted Eastman employees, especially retiring employees, with promises of high returns that were safe, which has turned out to be false, causing tremendous losses for many customers.

FINRA & Colorado Securities Regulator Investigate Mantei and Chiellini

This structured product scam doesn’t just involve investors in Tennessee and South Carolina. Retirees, senior investors, and other inexperienced investors elsewhere in the US have also been impacted.

Last year, the Colorado Division of Securities opened a probe into Mantei and Chiellini and is holding a hearing over whether to revoke Centaurus’ securities license in Colorado after investors in that state suffered losses.  

Also last year, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against Mantei accusing him of going around JP Turner’s supervisory system more than once when selling structured Certificates of Deposit (CDs) to customers. FINRA alleges that Mantei cross-traded these investments between customers, which makes fair pricing between those involved impossible.  

Structured CDs, which are linked to the market and therefore have risks beyond a typical bank CD, come with high front-end fees, steep early withdrawal penalties, and possibly even bank charges. They are incredibly illiquid and are unsuitable for most senior investors or inexperienced investors.

Structured Product Fraud Attorneys 

SSEK Law Firm is representing investors who were harmed in this structured products scam. Contact our broker fraud lawyers if you suffered significant losses while working with Ricky Mantei, Cindy Chiellini, Atul Makharia, or any other JP Turner or Centennial Financial broker.

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