SEC Charges Virginia Investment Adviser with Orchestrating a Fraudulent Investment Scheme

Litigation Release No. 25653 / March 1, 2023

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Ryan R. Riley, No. 1:23-cv-00273 (E.D. Va. filed March 1, 2023)

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged an investment adviser with defrauding investors and other advisory clients out of nearly half a million dollars.

The SEC's complaint alleges that, from at least January 2014 through September 2019, Ryan R. Riley, of Leesburg, Virginia, solicited advisory clients and other individuals to invest in securities issued by his companies, Green Light Energy, LLC and Mustang Resources, Inc. According to the complaint, Riley induced investors to invest by claiming that he would use their funds to acquire, develop, and operate oil & gas drilling projects in Texas. The SEC alleges that, in reality, Riley misappropriated the funds, using some for personal expenses and losing the majority through risky day trading.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia on March 1, 2023, charges Riley 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. Riley has consented to the entry of a judgment which, if approved by the court, would permanently enjoin him from violating the charged provisions and bar him from acting as an officer or director of a public company, with disgorgement and civil penalties to be decided later by the court.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia also announced criminal charges against Riley.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Christine R. O'Neil and Brendan P. McGlynn in the Philadelphia Regional Office. The case is being supervised by Nicholas P. Grippo and Scott A. Thompson. The SEC's litigation will be led by Spencer Willig and Timothy K. Halloran, and supervised by Gregory R. Bockin. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Virginia State Corporation Commission.