A Queens, N.Y., investment advisor has been arrested for allegedly taking more than $4 million from a client to purchase stocks but instead using the money for personal expenses and day trading.

Surage Roshan Perera, the founder and executive director of Janues Capital Inc. and a resident of Bellerose, Queens, was charged with fraud in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced yesterday.

Perera reached out to the client, a woman from Cedar Grove, N.J., via email, telephone calls and text from February 2022 to March 2023, according to the indictment. During that time, he solicited her to purchase shares in the Nasdaq index and New York Stock Exchange in exchange for a fee.

“Perera falsely told [her] that he had relationships with large institutions, and could purchase shares of those publicly traded companies at discounted prices,” said the DOJ’s press release. “The defendant also told [her] that her investment was a low risk venture and he would use her investment capital to purchase shares in those public-traded companies.”

The client eventually gave him more than $4.2 million, the U.S. Attorney said. But instead of investing in the securities as promised, Perera allegedly misappropriated the funds by paying for day trading and personal expenses, as well as redemptions for the client. As part of the scheme, he created fraudulent confirmation notices and account statements, the DOJ claims.

According to the indictment, Perera kept a bank account for Janues at a JPMorgan branch in the adjacent town of Bellerose on Long Island, and the indictment noted a series of wire transmissions to the bank that the DOJ said were part of a scheme to obtain money under fraudulent pretenses. Those counts also encompass emails in which Perera allegedly sent false confirmation notices and WhatsApp text messages in which Perera sent offers to buy shares of NYSE companies, the indictment said.

In a parallel action, the Securities and Exchange Commission also charged Perera and Janues Capital with defrauding the client out of millions by “lying about investment opportunities and strategies, concealing trading losses, and using funds received from others to give the victim the promised returns in Ponzi-like fashion.” The agency said it had obtained a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze against Perera and his firm and demanded a jury trial in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

“Perera did not use the investor’s funds to purchase the securities she had subscribed to, and did not engage in the promised ‘options straddles’ to prevent trading losses and generate the profits he had guaranteed,” the SEC said. The agency accused him of moving at least $3.5 million of the client’s funds to a brokerage account in his wife’s name and used the money for “highly speculative, leveraged trading.”

Perera faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, the DOJ said.

The Janues Capital website describes Perera as an MBA, and managing director “responsible for global business development strategy, client outreach and relationships” and says he uses strategies to “maximize returns on capital using financial derivatives such as warrants and options.” He also touts his 19 years of Wall Street experience and ability to raise capital for both equity and debt and IPOs, as well as his handling of accounts for high-net-worth investors.

Perera’s BrokerCheck page includes only one disclosure, a 2009 customer dispute settled for $12,000. However, he has also been registered with several firms expelled by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, including Caldwell International Securities (in 2017), Global Arena Capital Corp. (in 2016) and Prestige Financial Center (in 2011). His most recent stint, from 2018 to 2022, was with Aegis Capital Corp., a firm that has been in trouble with the SEC for the sale of complex structured securities. Aegis was ordered by the SEC to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty last July.

(This story has been updated to reflect the SEC's parallel action.)