By Lukas I. Alpert
That was some bad financial advice.
A financial adviser for UBS Financial Services Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206172872/composite UBS +1.90% in Florida has been charged with stealing $5.8 million from a client in order to buy lavish gifts for multiple girlfriends.
German Nino, 56, of Weston, Florida, is accused of moving millions out of his clients’ accounts by forging their signatures, faking banking statements and turning off notifications of transactions, federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission said.
Between 2014 and 2020, the clients — a high net-worth couple and their son — lost more than half of the $11 million they had parked at UBS, through the fraud, authorities said.
A UBS spokesman said the bank had paid the family back.
“Ensuring the safety of assets our customers entrust to us is always paramount. UBS has compensated the affected customers for any losses from their UBS accounts,” the spokesman said,
A message left with Nino’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.
Nino, who was married and had worked for UBS since 2012, is accused of using the money to buy luxury cars and trips for women with whom he was romantically involved, as well as pay for private school tuition for one and an apartment in Colombia for another, according to court filings.
Nino allegedly forged one of his clients’ signatures to make it appear that the victim had purchased land in Colombia.
The family that was defrauded — who were not publicly identified — eventually caught on the theft when the son noticed some discrepancies in one account, the SEC said. When he questioned Nino, he admitted that he had misappropriated some of the family’s money but promised to return it from a signing bonus from a new job, investigators said.
The son reported the theft to the bank, which opened a probe in 2020. When the bank asked Nino to sit down for an interview, he resigned, according to court documents.
He is accused of using $4.6 million of the missing money on his girlfriends and the other $1.2 million to repay funds he had stolen from another client, authorities said.
“As a financial adviser, Nino was entrusted with millions of dollars belonging to his client,” said Eric Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami office. “Nino took advantage of that trust by abusing his access to his client’s accounts for personal gain.”