SEC Charges Former Financial Adviser Representative with Misappropriating Investor Funds

Litigation Release No. 25346 / March 15, 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Mario E. Rivero, No. 22 Civ. 1360 (D.N.J. March 14, 2022)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday charged a former New Jersey broker and investment adviser representative with misappropriating at least $680,000 from his advisory clients and brokerage customers, some of whom were elderly or suffering from memory loss.

The SEC's complaint alleges that, between at least July 2018 and November 2020, Mario E. Rivero Jr., a former financial adviser at a large financial institution, convinced at least five of his clients and customers to transfer funds from their investment accounts to their personal bank accounts and then, from their bank accounts, to entities with which Rivero was secretly associated. As alleged, Rivero falsely told his victims that the purpose of these fund transfers was to make various investments on their behalf. According to the complaint, in reality, Rivero siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the entities that received the investor funds, for his own benefit.

The SEC's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, charges Rivero with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, Sections 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey yesterday announced criminal charges against Rivero.

The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, is being conducted by John Lehmann and Jordan Baker and is supervised by Lara S. Mehraban, all of the New York Regional Office. Mr. Lehmann and Christopher Dunnigan will lead the litigation. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, and FINRA.