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Ex-Edward Jones Broker Who Scammed Clients Permanently Blocked From Securities Business

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What You Need to Know

  • Ex-Edward Jones broker Ronald T. Molo allegedly scammed clients out of about $800,000 and was indicted for it last year by the Justice Department.
  • He has now been permanently enjoined from participating, directly or indirectly, in the issuance, purchase, offer or sale of any security.
  • He has also been ordered to pay $815,104 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.

An ex-Edward Jones broker who was indicted last year for allegedly defrauding clients out of about $800,000 has now been permanently enjoined from participating, directly or indirectly, in the issuance, purchase, offer or sale of any security, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday.

On Sept. 27, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a final judgment against Ronald T. Molo. He was also ordered to pay $815,104 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. The judgment was entered on the basis of default, the SEC said.

Molo allegedly defrauded clients out of nearly $800,000 and used some of the money to pay for “at least two vehicles,” credit card balances, lottery tickets and home mortgages for himself and his in-laws, according to the Justice Department indictment filed Nov. 15 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

He was charged with six counts of wire fraud, the indictment noted. “Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison,” the Justice Department said at the time.

Molo became a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority-registered broker when he joined Edward Jones in May 2001, according to his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

Edward Jones terminated Molo on June 15, 2021, after allegations that “clients transferred funds to an external account believed to be related to the registered representative,” a disclosure on his BrokerCheck report showed. “The transfers were subsequent to the registered representative soliciting a purported investment,” it said.

Edward Jones’s Take

“Upon identifying Ron Molo’s misconduct, Edward Jones promptly terminated his employment and notified the proper authorities,” a company spokesperson told ThinkAdvisor on Monday. “We have fully supported and cooperated with the law enforcement investigation that led to the indictment returned against Molo last summer. The few Edward Jones clients impacted by Molo’s misconduct have all been made whole and remain clients of our firm.”

FINRA suspended Molo on Oct. 25, 2021, after he failed to respond to the industry self-regulator’s request for information, his BrokerCheck report showed.

Travel, Lottery Tickets

According to the indictment, from 2018 to early 2021, Molo falsely represented to clients that their investments with him would be income-producing and tax-free, and that they would receive regular, periodic interest payments.

But Molo did not intend to invest client funds and instead misappropriated their money to pay for personal expenses, including Cadillac XT5 and GMC Yukon sport-utility vehicles, home remodeling and construction costs, lottery tickets, travel and shopping expenses and cash payments to family members, the indictment alleges.

As a result of Molo’s scheme, he caused at least three clients to suffer losses totaling $778,000, according to the indictment.

SEC: Victims Were All Seniors

The SEC filed a separate complaint against Molo in the same court on Nov. 23, 2021, making the same allegations as the Justice Department and pointing out the defrauded clients were elder clients.

The SEC’s complaint alleged that between January 2019 and November 2020, Molo stole a total of about $800,000 from two of his investment advisory clients and one of his brokerage customers.

According to the complaint, Molo convinced the three investors to transfer money out of their advisory and brokerage accounts to another bank account, purportedly to invest in tax-free bonds. The complaint alleged that, in reality, the bonds did not exist, and instead of investing the money, Molo used it to pay personal expenses.

(Image: Adobe Stock) 


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