A former stockbroker pleaded guilty to a $3.2 million investment scheme, $675,898 in tax evasion and nearly $400,000 in elder fraud, for which he faces 43 years in prison.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Robert Louis Cirillo, 61, of Chino Hills, Calif., yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, one count of filing a false tax return and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He could not be reached for comment.
Cirillo had a broker career that spanned more than two decades, although it ended in 2002 when he dropped his registration, according to BrokerCheck. Over those 20-plus years, he worked for 10 different firms, three of which were expelled by Finra after Cirillo’s departure. His final position, with First Allied Securities, San Diego, lasted less than a year.
The current charges stem from activity that began in 2014 and lasted until 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s statement said. Cirillo allegedly told more than 100 victims that he would invest their money, $3,237,262 in total, in short-term construction loans that would pay 15% to 30% returns for up to 90 days. In order to prove the legitimacy of the investment, Cirillo allegedly falsified bank statements that showed the investments’ growth, the U.S. Attorney said.
“In reality, Cirillo never invested the victims’ money and instead used it for his own personal expenses, including credit card payments, a trip to Las Vegas, and two automobiles—a Jeep and an Alfa Romeo,” the statement said. “Cirillo admitted to targeting members of the Hispanic community, many of whom were of limited means, for his fraudulent scheme. One victim invested her life savings of $20,000.”
Additionally, in the spring of 2021, Cirillo allegedly participated in a “relative-in-distress” scheme that defrauded a senior citizen, first by deceiving him into believing his grandson had been arrested on drug charges (which was false), and then by convincing him to send nearly $400,000 for his grandson’s “bail.” Cirillo used some of that money for personal benefit, the U.S. Attorney said.
And finally, Cirillo failed to report more than $3 million in income for tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017, the statement said. “For example, on his 2017 federal income tax return, Cirillo reported a total income of $30,985, which failed to include more than $1.9 million in income he received from his investment fraud scheme,” it read. In all, Cirillo allegedly avoided $675,898 in tax liability.
Cirillo’s sentencing date is Sept. 6.