Save PostFormer Investors Capital Corp and Cetera Advisors (Irvine, CA) broker Daniel Benjamin Vasquez of Ladera Ranch pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud for his part in a purported real estate home-flipping scam targeting elderly victims, receiving a sentence of 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Prosecutors alleged Dan Vasquez, who also sold insurance as Hoplon Insurance Services and investments as Hoplon Financial Group, defrauded at least 25 victims out of $2,623,907.26 between 2010 and at least 2014. A handful of pending settled customer disputes in stockbroker Vasquez (CRD #3141463)'s BrokerCheck file accused Vasquez of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, unsuitable investments or recommendations, excessive trading, omission of material information, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and violation of FINRA rules.
One settled dispute alleged that the clients made personal loans to Vasquez that had not been fully repaid, while another indicated Vazquez purported wrongdoing spanned two broker-dealers: Investors Capital Corp and Cetera Advisors of Irvine, California.
The findings out of Santa Ana indicate that Vasquez, who according to OCWeekly once served in the US Marines and previously worked as a sheriff's deputy, sold real estate investments through Hoplon Financial Group and New Economic Opportunities Fund I (aka NEON) to elderly and retired investors and then lied to his victims by falsely stating their funds would be used for certain real estate and return-earning purposes.
According to FBI investigators and federal prosecutors, instead of investing his client's funds in the way he had represented to them, Vasquez instead used his clients' money for personal purposes, including luxury vehicle purchases, paying off credit cards, and renovating his personal home; Tustin police originally arrested Vasquez on unrelated drug charges, and the FBI reportedly found him upon his release from Orange County Jail.
Said one elderly victim at the Orange County courthouse, "I sent [him] all my savings, which were to be my retirement earnings. My social security check does not support me."
Another scammed senior citizen testified, "Our complete loss was approximately $800,000 and that had a major financial impact on our retirement plans. Mr. Vasquez has no feelings for anybody but himself. . . . He singlehandedly ruined lives without any consideration, remorse or feelings."
The time for customers of Vasquez to bring arbitration claims against his former employers is running short as FINRA barred Vasquez from the securities industry in 2016.
The SEC also named Vasquez's Hoplon Financial Group colleague, Chief Operator Officer Gilbert Fleutsch of Escondido, and ordered him barred from association with any broker dealer, investment adviser, or other securities organization or agent. The SEC's complaint filed in United States District Court for the Central District of California accused Vasquez, Fleutsch, and Hoplon Financial of misrepresentation, misappropriation, diversion, and fraud.
Related parties included NEON, Compass Benefit Solutions, and VFP Construction, all of Irvine, CA.
If you have invested with financial felon and former Investors Capital Corp/Cetera Advisors broker Daniel Benjamin Vasquez, Hoplon Financial Group, or with any registered representative or financial adviser who unsuitably recommended and misrepresented how your investment would be used, or whose conversion, misappropriation, or theft of funds has proven harmful to your financial interests, please call our experienced FINRA arbitration attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.