NEWARK, N.J. – A New York Life insurance broker today admitted his role in a scheme to fraudulently use his association with the company to solicit investor money, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Ivan Ramos, 39, of Hillside, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Court Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with one count of securities fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ramos, who worked at New York Life selling life insurance, sought out inexperienced investors seeking low-risk investments. The victims met Ramos after purchasing life insurance through him, or through New York Life marketing events, or through mutual acquaintances. Ramos led his victims to believe, through misrepresentations and omissions, that two entities that he controlled, Invexperts LLC and Wealth Seeds Capital LLC, were associated with New York Life when they were not. The victims believed that the money they entrusted to Ramos would be placed in investments through New York Life, and accordingly multiple victims referenced New York Life on the memo line of their investment checks. One victim, for example, attended a New York Life seminar, then subsequently met with Ramos at his office in Edison, and ultimately invested in Invexperts believing it was associated with New York Life.
Ramos falsely told victims that their investments in Invexperts and Wealth Seeds were no-risk with fixed annual returns. Instead of investing their money as he promised he would, Ramos used the funds for purposes not disclosed to the victims, including, among other things, to pay for personal expenses for Ramos and others, to develop a restaurant called “Frisky Bull Barbeque” in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and to repay other investors.
Ramos obtained over $1 million in investor money through the fraudulent scheme.
The securities fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 15, 2021.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a civil complaint against Ramos based on the allegations underlying the securities fraud charge.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.