'Whopper' UBS broker sentenced to prison for Puerto Rico bond fraud

Jose Ramirez pleaded guilty to misusing credit lines to purchase securities

Mar 27, 2019 @ 4:49 pm

By InvestmentNews

Jose Ramirez, a former top UBS broker in Puerto Rico known to many as "The Whopper," was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after pleading guilty to criminal bank fraud in November.

At that time, Mr. Ramirez admitted to pocketing $1 million in commissions from customers, many of whom lost their life savings, in a scheme that centered on sales of the firm's proprietary closed-end bond funds, according to a report by CNBC.

"I'm not here to blame anyone else," Mr. Ramirez, a 60-year-old father of three, told the judge in federal court in Washington. "I ruined my record, my life and the lives of those who looked up to me."

(More:UBS feels the pain from spooked billionaires)

UBS terminated Mr. Ramirez in January 2014 when it learned that "he had permitted, and in some cases encouraged, certain clients to reinvest non-purpose loan proceeds into closed-end funds in violation of firm policy and the clients' loan agreements, and provided misleading responses to branch management when asked about certain account activity," according to the BrokerCheck file on Mr. Ramirez.

He had been with the firm for 16 years, after starting his career at PaineWebber in 1986 and moving to Prudential Securities in 1990.

In connection with its sales of Puerto Rico closed-end bond funds, UBS has settled with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. and the Securities and Exchange Commission for roughly $34 million. It has also paid out nearly $480 million to clients in Finra settlements and awards as of January, CNBC said.

(More: UBS hit with $2.5 million award in Puerto Rico case)

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