WASHINGTON — A former top broker in Puerto Rico for the Swiss banking giant UBS was sentenced to a year and a day in prison Tuesday, months after he pleaded guilty to criminal bank fraud for pocketing $1 million in commissions in a scheme that saw many investors lose their life savings.
Jose Ramirez will be the first person to serve jail time for a role in the scheme, which centered on sales of UBS proprietary closed-end bond funds.
In a near-empty courtroom in DC federal court, Ramirez asked Judge Thomas F. Hogan for leniency.
"I'm not here to blame anyone else," Ramirez, a 60-year-old father of three, told the judge. "I ruined my record, my life and the lives of those who looked up to me."
The sentence was shorter than the 33-month maximum recommended by the government. Judge Hogan also ordered two years of supervised release, a $500 fine and granted Ramirez's request to voluntarily report to prison.
"I'm faced with a human being who has admitted his wrongdoings, and I think is remorseful for his actions," Judge Hogan said.
Ramirez, who is known to many in Puerto Rico as "The Whopper" pleaded guilty in November 2018 for his role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain and misuse credit lines to purchase securities.
"UBS terminated the employment of Mr. Ramirez in January 2014, following an internal investigation that determined (1) he had permitted or encouraged clients to engage in improper conduct, and (2) had provided misleading responses to firm management when questioned about it," Peter Stack, a spokesman for UBS, said in an emailed statement
According to the government, from January 2011 through September 2013, Ramirez advised his clients to improperly borrow money in order to invest in UBS Puerto Rico bond funds. The sales generated approximately $1.2 million in commissions.