Ex-broker pleads guilty to defrauding more than 100 investors

What do you want to know

  • Robert Louis Cirillo targeted low-income Hispanic investors in a fraudulent scheme, prosecutors said.
  • The ex-broker pleaded guilty to securities fraud, filing a false tax return and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
  • He faces up to 43 years in prison if he receives the maximum sentence.

A former broker pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal criminal charges for running a securities fraud scheme in which he targeted low-income Hispanic investors and defrauded more than 100 of them out of more than 3.2 million dollars, according to Tracy Wilkison, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.

Instead of investing his clients’ money, Robert Louis Cirillo61, of Chino Hills, used the funds for his own personal expenses, including credit card payments, a trip to Las Vegas, casino expenses and two vehicles: a Jeep and an Alfa Romeo.

As part of a plea agreement, Cirillo pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana to one count of securities fraud, one count of filing a false tax return and one count of chief of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Wilkison said.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter has scheduled a sentencing hearing for Sept. 6 where Cirillo will face a maximum sentence of 43 years in federal prison, according to Wilkison. His initial lawsuit against Cirillo was filed on June 6, according to court documents.

Ronald D. Hedding, an Encino, Calif. attorney who represented Cirillo, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday on why his client decided to plead guilty under the settlement. advocacy.

Cirillo was a licensed broker from 1989 to 2002, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website. The last of the 10 companies he was a broker for was First Allied Securities.

According to his plea agreement, from 2014 to 2021, Cirillo deceived more than 100 clients by lying to them that he would invest their funds in short-term construction loans that would pay high rates of return ranging from 15 to 30 percent for a period of up to 90 days.