Seems like a husband who throws his wife a $360,000 birthday bash might be an ok guy, except when the money comes from 35 investors as part of a purported Ponzi scheme, at least that’s the SEC accusation against Jason George Rivera Jr.
Rivera, 32, a former Alamo, Calif. realtor, and Marc C. Harmon, 38, a former construction worker in San Leandro, were accused in a civil suit of defrauding 35 investors of $8 million in 2007 and 2008, telling them the money was safely invested in “hard assets” such as diamonds, gold and… uh, real estate. Oops.
But instead, Rivera allegedly used $1.5 million to spruce up his luxury home, throw his wife the expensive birthday party, buy jewelry and basketball season tickets, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The money was raised through the Joseph Rene Corp., a Walnut Creek, Calif. company, according to the SEC. By late 2008 he had run through the JRC money and allegedly switched to Executive Members Management Group to raise money to pay for his lifestyle and drew in an additional 16 investors, according to the lawsuit.
He told these people in 2008 through 2010 that he would put their money in trading programs with quick, low-risk profits of up to 6,300 percent through collateralized mortgage obligations, the SEC states. One wonders if these investors were paying attention to the world of collateralized mortgage obligations between 2008 and 2010?
Harmon allegedly participated in the scheme and violated broker registration requirements.
The SEC has asked for an injunction barring the pair from future violations, to disgorge the allegedly ill-gotten gains with interest and pay civil fines of undisclosed amounts.
Case: SEC v. Rivera, No. C11-4741JSC