A one-time Inland Empire financial adviser with a history of violating securities laws pleaded guilty Monday to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in clients’ money for his own personal use.
Paul Ricky Mata, 57, of Oceanside pleaded guilty to 17 federal counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and making false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 6 in Los Angeles federal court.
Mata committed the offenses while based in Upland, serving more than 100 clients in the Inland Empire and elsewhere between August 2008 and September 2015.
He was previously the defendant in a civil action initiated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which the government said resulted in an $11.74 million judgment against him.
According to the indictment, Mata operated a number of ventures, including Secured Capital and Logos Real Estate, and he attracted investors with the promise of gaining 5 to 10% returns on their money by putting funds in “government-backed tax liens,” “asset-backed deed certificates” and distressed real estate.
Most of the investments placed under Mata’s management after 2011 returned nothing and instead went into his pocket, paying for a down payment on his home, covering personal loans and replenishing his private bank accounts.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendant failed to disclose to investors that he was terminated by Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in 2009 for violating company policies and had been named in disciplinary actions filed by financial regulators in California and Nevada. The Ameriprise transgressions resulted in a suspension of his financial adviser license by the independent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, prosecutors said.
In bankruptcy proceedings following the 2015 SEC civil suit, Mata failed to disclose assets, including a 2008 Mini Cooper and a 2001 Jeep Cherokee, prosecutors said.