The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Mario E. Rivero Jr., a former broker and investment adviser, with misappropriating at least $680,000 from his advisory and brokerage clients, some of whom were elderly or suffering from memory loss.
Rivero spent nine years with Wells Fargo and less than one year at LPL Financial before being barred by FINRA in June 2021 for refusing to participate in its investigation of allegations made by his former customers.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that between July 2018 and November 2020, Rivero convinced at least five of his clients to transfer funds from their investment accounts to their personal bank accounts, and then from their bank accounts to entities with which he was secretly associated.
Rivero purportedly told his clients that the purpose of the fund transfers was to make various investments on their behalf. Instead, the SEC claims that he siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the entities and used the money to fund his gambling and personal expenses.
The SEC charged Rivero with violating the antifraud provisions of various federal securities laws and seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.
In a parallel criminal case, Rivero was charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of investment advisor fraud, and one count of securities fraud. He was arrested in his New Jersey home earlier this week.
Each of the wire fraud charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the investment adviser fraud charge has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine; and the securities fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine.