U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23369 / September 29, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jose G. Ramirez Jr., Civil Action No. 15-cv-02365 (USDC District of Puerto Rico, filed September 29, 2015)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Jose G. Ramirez, Jr., a former top broker at UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico ("UBSPR"), who made material misrepresentations and omissions and orchestrated a fraudulent scheme involving the use of credit line proceeds from a UBSPR-affiliated bank to purchase shares in UBSPR affiliated closed-end mutual funds.
The complaint filed in federal court in Puerto Rico against Jose Ramirez, Jr., a former registered representative in UBSPR's Guaynabo branch office alleges that Ramirez increased his compensation by at least $2.8 million by having certain customers use proceeds from lines of credit with UBS Bank USA to purchase additional shares in UBSPR closed-end mutual funds. To evade detection, Ramirez allegedly instructed the customers to transfer money from their line of credit to an outside bank account before depositing the funds into their UBSPR brokerage account and purchasing the closed-end funds. The funds invested heavily in Puerto Rico municipal bonds and lost value as the Puerto Rico bond market declined, requiring the customers to pay down a portion of the loans or risk having their investments liquidated.
According to the SEC's complaint, Ramirez misled customers about the safety of the closed-end funds and the risks of investing in them with borrowed money. He also is alleged to have lied to his branch manager when questioned about suspicious transactions in the closed-end mutual funds. Ramirez was terminated by UBSPR in January 2014. As a result of this conduct, the SEC's complaint alleges Ramirez violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Sean M. O'Neill of the Miami Regional Office and was supervised by Jason R. Berkowitz. Russell Koonin and Sean M. O'Neill will lead the SEC's litigation against Ramirez.