- November 16, 2023
- Edward Jones
Ronald Terrence Molo (CRD#: 4371241) was a previously registered broker and investment advisor.
He entered the securities industry in 2001, and has previously worked for Edward Jones in Joliet, IL.
Allegations of Misconduct
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in November 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instituted public administrative proceedings against Ronald Molo. In anticipation of the institution of these proceedings, Respondent has submitted an Offer of Settlement (the “Offer”) which the Commission has determined to accept. The Commission finds that: on September 27, 2022, in the civil action Case No. 21-cv-6286, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, a judgment by default was entered against Molo permanently enjoining him from participating, directly or indirectly, in the issuance, purchase, offer, or sale of any security, including inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of any security, or causing any person or entity to engage in any activity for the purpose of inducing or attempting to induce the purchase of sale of any security, or deriving compensation from any activity engaged in for the purpose of inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of any security, and further including but not limited to, participating in the issuance, purchase, offer, or sale of any security through an entity that Molo owns or controls; provided, however, that such injunction shall not prevent Molo from purchasing or selling securities listed on a national securities exchange for his own personal account.
The Commission’s complaint alleged that between January 2019 and November 2020, Molo misappropriated a total of approximately $800,000 from two of his investment advisory clients and one of his brokerage customers. On December 1, 2022, Molo pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1343 before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, in Criminal Case No. 1:21-CR-698. On May 23, 2023, a judgment in the criminal case was entered against Molo.
He was sentenced to a prison term of 24 months, followed by two years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $710,308. The count of the criminal indictment to which Molo pled guilty alleged, inter alia, that from approximately 2018 through June 2021, Molo, while employed by a large financial institution as a licensed financial advisor, conducted a scheme to defraud and obtain money from clients through materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. As part of the scheme, Molo falsely advised multiple clients that he had a good investment opportunity for them, supposedly involving tax-exempt, interest-bearing bonds or bond funds. In reality, this investment opportunity did not exist. As part of the scheme, Molo fraudulently induced clients to transfer funds to his personal bank account, and Molo then converted client funds for his own personal use.
In addition, Ronald Molo has been the subject of several other disclosures, which include the following:
- October 2021—“Allegations relate to misappropriation of ~$800,000.00 of client funds and fictitious investments. See Illinois Securities Department Notice of Hearing dated October 26, 2021 in matter number 2100455.”
- September 2021—“Respondent Molo failed to respond to FINRA requests for information.”
- June 2021—“Client alleges former FA stole funds from them by wiring client funds to a bank account controlled by former FA’s spouse under the guise that they were making an investment.” The customer dispute settled for $263,119.54.
- June 2021—“Client alleges former FA stole funds from them by wiring client funds to a bank account controlled by former FA’s spouse under the guise that they were making an investment.” The customer dispute settled for $329,644.85.
- June 2021—“Client alleges former FA stole funds from them by wiring client funds to a bank account controlled by former FA’s spouse under the guise that they were making an investment.” The customer dispute settled for $282,237.50.
- June 2021—“Registered representative was terminated after clients transferred funds to an external account believed to be related to the registered representative. The transfers were subsequent to the registered representative soliciting a purported investment.”
- November 2019—“The client alleges that the financial advisor made unauthorized trades. The client further alleges that the advisor failed to advise him that early payment of his Brighthouse VUL policy could result in it being converted to a Modified Endowment Contact and failed to provide him information that the policy had so converted.” The customer dispute settled for $16,000.
- May 2012—“THE CLIENT STATES THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR SUGGESTED SHE LIQUIDATE THE AMERICAN FUNDS HELD IN HER RETIREMENT ACCOUNT AND PURCHASE MSF MUTUAL FUNDS. SHE STATES SHE WAS INFORMED THE RETURN WOULD BE 4% AND SHE COULD GET HER MONEY OUT WITH NO PENALTY. SHE STATES SHE WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE COMMISSION ON THE MUTUAL FUND. SHE STATES, WHEN SHE QUESTIONED THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR AFTER RECEIVING HER FIRST STATEMENT, SHE WAS INFORMED THAT HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT SHE WAS CHARGED.” The customer dispute was closed.
For a copy of Ronald Molo’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.
We Help Investors Recover Investment Losses
FINRA regulations require that a customer’s written authorization is required before a broker-dealer can carry out transactions in the customer’s account. In addition, the broker-dealer’s member firm needs to approve the broker-dealer’s authorization. These measures are intended to protect the customer. Discretionary trading allows the broker-dealer to unilaterally decide to buy or sell securities at any price and not have to check with the client first. Exercising discretion without authorization can be costly to investors, and broker-dealers and their member firms, too.
In addition, to the extent a Financial Advisor converts client assets during the course and scope of his employment and/or registration with the brokerage firm, that brokerage firm may be held liable for any attendant losses.