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WJB Capital execs charged in scheme to prop up firm

Three former WJB Capital Group Inc. executives, including two Long Islanders, face grand larceny charges in a bid to prop up the now defunct broker-dealer, prosecutors said.

Michael Romano, 41, of Commack; Gregory Maleski, 39, of Massapequa; and Craig Rothfeld, 43, of New York City, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Thursday in criminal court in Manhattan, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

WJB Capital voluntarily ceased broker-dealer operations in 2012, Rothfeld said at the time. The company was "unable to raise capital in a manner that would have allowed the firm to continue its operations, given the current climate and the constraints that would have been placed on everyone," he said.

Rothfeld and the two other men are now accused of stealing at least $11 million from investors, "including employees, family and friends" to keep the firm alive, according to Vance's office.

Prosecutors accused them of using client money for luxury cars and home improvements.

WJB Capital, founded in 1993 with two agency brokers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, had offices in five cities across the United States and operated live trading desks for the nation's major equities and options exchanges.

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