The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) is in federal court in San Francisco to freeze the accounts of a now-barred investment adviser and his uncle, claiming that the two misappropriated investors’ money.

Frank Mazzola and his uncle, John Bivona, have been charged with diverting money from Bivona’s fund through Saddle River Advisors LLC and SRA Management Associates LLC to invest in Twitter and other related companies ahead of their respective initial public offerings. Mazzola was banned from the securities industry two years ago amidst allegations that he misled tech investors through another fund, Felix Advisors LLC.

According to the SEC, Saddle River collected $53 million in funds from investors throughout California and elsewhere. Instead of using the money for its stated purpose, Bivona used the investment funds to pay back and buy shares from earlier investors. Further, Mazzola and Bivona took nearly three times the fees they were contractually entitled to receive from the Saddle River funds, including millions in unrelated legal fees and $1 million to Bivona’s wife.

The SEC claims that Saddle River is essentially a continuation of Felix Advisors, the same operation that resulted in Mazzola’s ban from the securities industry. Instead of shutting down that operation as agreed, it has been alleged that both men continued to operate under a new name.

To prevent further damage, the SEC has asked the court for a temporary restraining order to enjoin Bivona and Mazzola from violating securities laws and freezing their bank accounts.

Did You Invest with this Ponzi Scheme Adviser?

If you invested with Frank Mazzola, John Bivona, or Saddle River Advisors LLC, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention. Contact an experienced Los Angeles securities fraud attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights.

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