Suspect in Courtroom - Photo courtesy of Gorodenkoff

A former stockbroker from Chino Hills was sentenced Tuesday to 6 1/2 years in federal prison for a $3.2 million investment scheme that focused on low-income Latino investors.

Robert Louis Cirillo, 61, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter to repay $3.9 million in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Cirillo pleaded guilty June 28 to single counts each of securities fraud, filing a false tax report and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

About 100 victims invested with Cirillo in short-term construction loans with promises of hefty returns ranging from 15% to 30% in up to 90 days, prosecutors said. To back up the bogus claims on returns, Cirillo showed investors phony bank statements, prosecutors said.

Cirillo took the investor funds and spent it on himself, including credit card payments, a trip to Las Vegas and two cars, prosecutors said.

One of his victims invested her life savings of $20,000, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the defendant operated the scheme from 2014 through last year.

When some of the investors grew suspicious, the defendant threatened them, prosecutors said. In July of 2019, he told one victim who threatened to sue him that the victim could go “for the (expletive) hole in the (expletive) desert. Tell him to test me,” according to prosecutors.

Last year, he also joined a scamming of an 82-year-old man, prosecutors said. Cirillo and other co-defendants tricked the victim into sending them $400,000 for the bail of his grandson, who they falsely claimed was arrested for possession of drugs, prosecutors said.

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