A former Morgan Stanley broker is facing criminal charges and an SEC lawsuit for allegedly swindling $3.5 million from his clients and using the funds to purchase luxury automobiles, pay credit card bills and pay family members.

Jesus Rodriguez, 44, of El Paso, Texas, misappropriated more than $3.475 million from 10 of his clients’ accounts from 2014 to 2021 during his tenure with Morgan Stanley, according to an SEC lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The SEC complaint also noted that authorities in El Paso have filed criminal charges against Rodriguez for allegedly stealing from the account of a Morgan Stanley investor.

According to a press release by El Paso city officials in October, Rodriguez was arrested at the Mexican border for an outstanding warrant on October 6 for pilfering  $56,000 from the bank account of an elderly couple, an 88-year-old man and a 92-year-old woman. He was released a day later on a $75,000 bond, the release said.

Rodriguez, according to published reports, was also arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on January 12. 

Rodriguez had been with Morgan Stanley from June 2009 until August 2021, when he voluntarily resigned over allegations of “use of client line of credit for his personal benefit,” according to BrokerCheck.

The SEC complaint said Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen, served as a registered representative and/or investment advisor representative to many Mexican residents whom he recruited to open brokerage and/or advisory accounts with Morgan Stanley.

Rodriguez, the complaint said, stole from the clients by “initiating fraudulent disbursements of funds primarily through unauthorized ACH transfers, wire transfers, and cash journal transfers to other accounts at [Morgan Stanley].” The unauthorized disbursements totaled 250, the complaint said.

Rodriguez hid his fraud by misleading clients about the money transfers and withholding their statements, the complaint said. He also lied to Morgan Stanley when questioned about alleged large loan obligations that he had incurred in some of the investors’ accounts to fund his misappropriation from them, the SEC said. 

The lawsuit said Rodriguez used the funds he stole to purchase multiple luxury automobiles, including a Lamborghini and multiple BMWs. It also said he “routinely traveled from El Paso to Austin to race these cars on a private track.” He also used the stolen money to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card bills and transferred money to the bank accounts of his mother and his then-wife, the lawsuit said.

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