The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges and obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief against Ramiro Jose Sugranes, a Miami-based investment adviser, and two investment firms for engaging in an alleged cherry-picking scheme in which they channeled millions of dollars in trading profits to preferred accounts.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Sugranes and two registered investment advisory firms where he is a director, UCB Financial Advisers Inc. and UCB Financial Services Limited, engaged in a scheme since at least September 2015 to divert profitable trades to two accounts believed to be held by Sugranes’ relatives while placing losing trades with other clients. The SEC alleges that Sugranes and the firms used a single account to place trades without specifying the intended recipients of the securities at the time they placed the trades.
According to the complaint, the preferred clients, who are named as relief defendants, received approximately $4.6 million from profitable trades while other clients sustained more than $5 million in first-day losses.
In 2005, Sugranes agreed to a fine of $7,500 and a one-month suspension by the NASD, one of the predecessors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. At that time, he neither admitted nor denied that he had traded client accounts without authorization. His brokerage career began in 1987, but after 2004, his BrokerCheck record shows that he no longer worked as a registered representative.
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