DOJ, SEC accuses former Edward Jones advisor of defrauding investors

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    An Edward Jones advisor has defrauded several senior clients of approximately $ 800,000 for two decades to help fund his own personal expenses, according to the Justice Department.

    Ronald T. Molo was Six wire transfer fraud charges in federal court of Illinois while the Securities and Exchange Commission also indicted him about the same behavior. Molo started working with Edward Jones in May 2001, according to his BrokerCheck profile. Molo served as both investment advisor agent and registered agent and was based in the Chicago suburb of Sherwood while working in the company’s Joliet, Illinois office.

    As of around January 2019, Molo began stealing from three investors, all of whom were seniors, according to the SEC. Molo would urge investors to invest in bonds at regularly scheduled meetings, with investors agreeing based on their confidence in Molo, according to the lawsuit.

    “Unknown to the investors, they executed all transfer forms on Molo’s instructions to buy the alleged bonds, which transferred their money to Molo’s personal bank account,” the complaint said. “Molo didn’t tell investors he had the account he told them to send their money to.”

    In total, Molo allegedly stole about $ 800,000 from investors, used about $ 778,000 on his own expenses, and spent about $ 22,000 on interest payments allegedly derived from the fictitious bond investments. To fabricate these payments, Molo got cashier’s checks from his bank and changed them to hide the fact that the money was from his personal account, the commission said.

    Molo reportedly continued doing this with the three investors in November 2020, with clients investing hundreds of thousands in supposedly bonds. According to the complaint, Molo used the funds for numerous personal expenses, including more than $ 132,400 to pay a relative’s mortgage, nearly $ 117,000 on his own mortgage payments, and nearly $ 40,000 to pay for and get cars repair, including a Cadillac XT5 and a GMC Yukon sports utility vehicle, according to the DOJ.

    Molo never told investors that he used their money on his own expenses, according to the SEC.

    But in May 2021, the system fell apart, according to the SEC. At that time, one of the damaged investors called Molo’s office because they had not received an interest check from one of the (fictitious) bond issuers. Another Edward Jones employee answered the call but was unable to help and left a note for Molo, who deleted the note and, according to the complaint, never contacted the customer.

    At that point, Edward Jones stepped in and conducted an internal investigation, including an interview with Molo, the commission said.

    “After identifying Ron Molo’s wrongdoing, Edward Jones immediately resigned and notified the relevant authorities,” said an Edward Jones spokesman WealthManagement.com. “We have fully supported, and continue to cooperate with, the law enforcement investigations into the indictment against Molo. The few Edward Jones clients who were affected by Molo’s misconduct have all been fully investigated and will remain clients of our firm.”

    Any remittance fraud count is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, according to the Justice Department, while the SEC is pursuing injunctive relief, levies, pre-trial interest, and civil penalties.

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