San Diego, CA–A Carlsbad man is charged in a federal grand jury indictment with securities fraud and money laundering, federal prosecutors said.
According to the indictment unsealed Tuesday, 53-year-old Richard Lee Ramirez ran a fraudulent investment scheme with his company JMJ Capital Group (“JMJ”) and obtained at least $8 million from investors in 2018. The indictment alleges he used investors’ money for personal expenses and to make Ponzi-style payments to other investors, rather than advancing JMJ’s purported business and investment opportunities.
According to the indictment and statements made in court, Ramirez solicited investments in JMJ from dozens of people by falsely telling them JMJ purchased and resold personal protective equipment, factored accounts receivable, imported and sold furniture, and, among other things, contracted with a cruise line to refurbish ships’ air-conditioning units. Ramirez promised investors returns of approximately 10 to 14 percent within 90 days and 20 to 30 percent within one month, which purportedly would be generated by JMJ’s business opportunities. Ramirez misrepresented to investors that they could withdraw their money at any time. Also, as alleged in the indictment, he sent investors funding agreements and account statements that furthered his fraud by falsely representing returns and the value of investments with JMJ.
According to the indictment, instead of using investors’ money as he said he would, Ramirez used it to pay for luxury cars, travel, potential real estate transactions, and other personal expenses, and to pay different investors who tried to redeem their investments and returns. Through his fraudulent scheme, according to the indictment and statements in court, Ramirez caused JMJ’s investors to lose money and ultimately stole at least $5 million of the $8 million or more he received from them.
Ramirez was arrested near Mira Mesa on Friday afternoon.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to achieving justice for victims of financial fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. Grossman also cautioned investors to perform their own due diligence and warned the public about business pitches and returns that “seem too good to be true.”
“Ramirez gained the trust of his clients and allegedly used that trust to fund a life of luxury for himself by taking the hard-earned money of his investors,” said Stacey Moy, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Diego Field Office. “The FBI remains committed to pursuing justice for all victims of fraud.”
The next hearing in Ramirez’s criminal case is scheduled for November 7 before U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant.