SEC Charges Former IIIinois Investment Professional with Fraud

Litigation Release No. 25270 / November 23, 2021

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Ronald T. Molo, No. 21-cv-6286 (N.D. Ill. filed November 23, 2021)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Ronald T. Molo, a former investment professional, with collectively defrauding three investors out of a total of approximately $800,000, which Molo used to pay personal expenses.

According to the SEC's complaint, Molo was formerly an investment adviser representative and registered broker-dealer representative for a large financial services firm. Between January 2019 and November 2020, Molo stole a total of approximately $800,000 from three investors, two of whom were his investment advisory clients and one of whom was his brokerage customer. 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. In reality, the bonds did not exist, and Molo did not tell the investors that the account to which he had directed them to transfer their money was his personal bank account. Instead of investing the money, Molo used it to pay personal expenses, including mortgage payments, automobile purchases, and renovations to his home. The complaint alleges that Molo tried to cover up his fraud by sending the three investors purported interest payments from the nonexistent bonds, using altered cashier's checks drawn from funds in his personal bank account.

The SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, charges Molo with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois filed criminal charges against Molo on November 23, 2021 in a parallel action.

The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, is being conducted by James G. O'Keefe and supervised by Steven L. Klawans of the Chicago Regional Office. The litigation is being led by Eric M. Phillips. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.