The Justice Department announced that a former licensed stockbroker from California has pleaded guilty to defrauding over 100 of his clients, reports ThinkAdvisor.
61-year-old Robert Louis Cirillo of Chino Hills entered the plea last month in U.S. District Court. Cirillo was facing federal criminal charges for running a securities fraud scheme from 2014 to 2021 that targeted low-income Hispanic victims. According to prosecutors, Cirillo deceived his victims “by lying to them that he would be investing their funds in short-term construction loans that would pay large return rates that ranged from 15% to 30% for a period of up to 90 days. As part of the scheme, Cirillo showed actual and prospective victim-investors fabricated bank statements that purported to show the investments’ growth.”
But instead of investing their funds as he promised, Cirillo allegedly misappropriated the money and used it for his own personal expenses, including credit card payments, a trip to Las Vegas, casino expenses and two vehicles, a Jeep and an Alfa Romeo. In total, clients were defrauded out of over $3.2 million.
In a separate incident, prosecutors said Cirillo joined co-conspirators in deceiving a senior citizen into believing his grandson had been arrested, which was false, and convinced him to send nearly $400,000 for purported bail. Cirillo diverted some of the money for his own use.
Cirillo also admitted to filing false income tax returns for 2015, 2016, and 2017 by failing to report over $3 million in income.
Under a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, one count of filing a false tax return, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He will face a maximum of 43 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on September 6.
The attorneys at Lewitas Hyman have decades of experience dealing with securities fraud cases and have a deep understanding of how capital markets and financial service firms are intended to work to protect investors. Our team includes lawyers who have worked for large financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley and UBS Financial Services, and regulatory bodies such as the SEC. If you think your financial professional or firm engaged in misconduct that caused you investment losses, contact Lewitas Hyman at (888) 655 6002 or through our online contact form for a no-cost evaluation of your matter.