Stoltmann Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago-based securities and investment fraud law firm with offices throughout the Chicago-land area, is investigating claims made by the United States against Ronald T. Molo. It is important to realize the allegations made by the US Attorney are unproven and Mr. Molo is entitled to a presumption of innocence until provide guilty. Molo has been indicted on six counts of wire fraud, which means money was transmitted electronically for fraudulent purposes, simply put. According to the indictment, Mr. Molo was a Financial Advisor for a “national financial services firm,” working from an office in Joliet.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck Report, Mr. Molo was a licensed financial advisor with Edward Jones & Company from May 2001 to June 2021 when he was terminated for cause. According to Edward Jones, Mr. Molo was terminated because customer funds were transferred to outside accounts in his control after soliciting some purported investment opportunity. The BrokeCheck Report also shows that Edward Jones has already paid out $875,000 to victims of this alleged fraud to settle claims. The allegations in the indictment support the contentions made by Edward Jones when it terminated Mr. Molo. According to the Indictment, Molo, who the grand jury found had fiduciary duties to his clients, falsely advised multiple clients that he had a good investment opportunity for them. The investment allegedly was some sort of tax-exempt, interest-bearing bonds. He advised these clients that the investment opportunity would pay regular, periodic interest at 5%, that the interest would be tax-exempt, like a municipal bond, and was being offered through reputably investment houses like Lord Abbett, Spire Investment Partners, and Ivory Stone Investment Partners. None of this was true, alleges the Indictment, and Molo knew his representations were untrue and made with intent to defraud. Molo had his clients, it has been alleged, execute authorizations to transfer funds from their Edward Jones accounts to an outside account, which unbeknownst to the victims, was an account Molo controlled personally.
This case is another example of a Ponzi scheme that lacks one of the most well-known hallmarks of one – the “it sounds too good to be true” concept. Molo’s alleged scam offered 5% interest per year, not 50% or some other unrealistic on its face return. Many Ponzi schemes involve alleged investments that offer outlandish or unrealistic returns. Bernie Madoff changed this perception and is one of the many reasons why his scheme lasted so long and did so much damage. Bernie Madoff never provided outlandish returns to his clients, only stable, consistent returns for years. Brokerage firms like Edward Jones have legal duties and responsibilities to supervise the conduct of their licensed representatives. The securities industry is heavily regulated at both the state and federal level, and many of these regulations have to do with supervision and compliance. Money being sent out of a client account to an unaffiliated 3rd party account is a huge red flag and implicates anti-money laundering rules and regulations, which are very serious issues for brokerage firms like Edward Jones.