Former financial advisor from Hillsborough sentenced for role in Ponzi scheme

A Somerset County man was sentenced to 78 months in prison for engaging in a $2 million Ponzi scheme targeting elderly investors and for subscribing to a false tax return.

Daniel Rivera, 51, of Hillsborough, a former financial advisor, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to a superseding information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.

Thompson imposed the sentence on April 30 in Trenton federal court, according to information provided by Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from 2008 through 2017, Rivera solicited primarily elderly investors to invest their money in a company called Robbins Lane Properties Inc.

Rivera represented to investors that Robbins Lane was a company staffed by experienced real estate professionals that invested in real estate ventures. Rivera told investors that by investing in Robbins Lane, senior investors would share in the company’s investment portfolio by lending it money to invest in real estate. Rivera further promised investors that they would receive a guaranteed monthly income, and that the company’s rate of return was based on secure real estate investments in the company’s portfolio.

In reality, Robbins Lane had no employees, no real estate portfolio, and the monies used to pay investors as a purported return on their investments was from funds he received from other investors.

Rivera also used funds sourced from investors to pay his personal and unrelated business expenses, including paying his child’s college tuition and sorority fees.

During the course of the fraudulent scheme, on March 5, 2014, Rivera filed with the IRS a federal income tax return that underreported his taxable income by $33,276.

In addition to the prison term, Thompson sentenced Rivera to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $1.47 million to his victims and $284,863 to the IRS.