John Bivona, an unregistered advisor from New Jersey, has been accused of operating a massive Ponzi scheme by the SEC. Bivona allegedly raised over $53 million from investors, whom he told he would put the money in pre-IPO technology companies. Rather, he used the funds to pay his nephew’s credit card bills, income taxes, a car loan, attorney fees, and the mortgage on a Jersey Shore vacation home, said the SEC.The Commission’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, alleges that since October 2013, Bivona “orchestrated a Ponzi-like scheme that has defrauded investors in up-and-coming technology companies.” The complaint further states, “Millions of dollars have been funneled to pay for the expenses of earlier funds that Bivona and his companies also manage, while at least $5.7 million has been diverted to family members.” Bivona “steered the lion’s share of the misappropriated money to benefit [his] nephew, Frank Mazzola, who faced SEC fraud charges for an earlier investment scheme.” The SEC alleges that Bivona raised money through Saddle River Advisors, which has not been registered with the SEC since 2013, and SRA Management Associates to pay earlier investors and family expenses. The funds Bivona used for undisclosed reasons constantly left his firms short of money needed to purchase the shares promised to investors, according to the SEC. The complaint further alleges Bivona kept the scheme going by indiscriminately transferring money among more than a dozen bank accounts associated with numerous different entities. If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.