The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken German Nino, a registered representative and investment adviser representative associated with UBS Financial Services Inc, to Court over a theft of $5.8 million from a client.
According to the SEC’s complaint, submitted at the Florida Southern District Court on Friday, January 21, 2022, between May 2014 and February 2020, Nino stole approximately $5.8 million from a long-standing advisory client.
At UBS, Nino was the financial advisor for the accounts of a high-net-worth couple (“Client”) who had invested approximately $11 million with UBS through Nino. Nino had discretionary authority over several of Client’s securities brokerage accounts and represented to Client that he would invest their funds in securities.
In May 2014, Nino began making unauthorized wire transfers out of certain of Client’s UBS accounts, and would sometimes liquidate Client’s securities at or about the same time as the wire transfers. Nino ultimately deposited those funds into a bank account that Nino kept separately from his marital accounts.
As part of this scheme, Nino represented to the client that he would invest the client’s funds in securities, but, instead, Nino used the funds for personal expenses—primarily gifts and travel and living expenses for women with whom he had romantic relationships. Nino also used a portion of the stolen funds to fully repay another client from whom he had previously misappropriated funds.
To conceal his fraud, Nino created and provided the client with fictitious account statements purporting to show the client’s investment portfolio and related balances, when in fact the accounts had significantly smaller balances. Nino also manipulated UBS’s records to ensure that the client did not receive notifications for wire transfers out of one of the client’s accounts. To effectuate larger fraudulent transfers, Nino forged the client’s signature on letters of authorization.
In early 2020, Client’s son discovered discrepancies with the account balance in one account, and began to confront Nino. Eventually, Nino confessed to the son that he had stolen Client’s money, promising that he would pay Client back with a signing bonus he would receive when he joined a new firm.
Client subsequently alerted UBS, which began to investigate the issue. In February 2020, UBS requested that Nino submit to an interview as part of its investigation. Nino resigned instead.
The SEC alleges that by engaging in the conduct described herein, Nino directly violated numerous antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The Commission seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement and prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against Nino.