What You Need to Know
- The barred broker faces a maximum of 65 years in prison for stealing over $500,000 from clients.
- Instead of investing his clients' money, he used the funds for gambling and his own personal expenses, DOJ said.
- The SEC, in a separate complaint, said the ex-broker stole at least $680,000 from clients, including older and disabled investors.
A former broker and advisor who served as a registered representative for LPL Financial and Wells Fargo could face a maximum of 65 years in prison after he was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing more than $500,000 from multiple clients at both firms to fund his gambling and personal expenses, according to Philip R. Sellinger, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
Mario E. Rivero Jr., 38, of Red Bank, New Jersey, was charged by complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey with two counts of wire fraud, one count of investment advisor fraud, and one count of securities fraud.
Each of the wire fraud counts carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest, according to Sellinger.
The advisor fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The securities fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine, Sellinger said in a news release.
Instead of investing his clients’ funds as promised, Rivero allegedly perpetrated a scheme to defraud multiple clients by unlawfully diverting the funds to enrich himself and others, Sellinger alleged.
Rivero was arrested at his home and was to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer, according to Sellinger.
According to documents filed in the Justice Department’s case and statements made in court, from April 2018 through November 2020, Rivero, while serving in his capacity as an advisor for a large brokerage firm, misappropriated at least $529,870 from four clients.
The complaint and Sellinger did not name the firm. But Rivero was a rep for Wells Fargo from October 2010 until September 2020 and a rep for LPL from October 2020 until June 2021, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.
In May 2021, Rivero signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent in which he, without admitting to or denying FINRA’s findings, consented to be barred from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity. FINRA signed the letter in June 2021.