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Your Next-Door Neighbor Isn’t As Rich As He Seems

October 9, 2019

[Photo: 'Wealthy Neighbor - 23 Pitney Avenue, Spring Lake, NJ /]



by Howard Haykin


The grass always seems greener on the other side. Jealousy is what often leads people to ‘beg, borrow and steal.”



By all appearances, Richard Diver was a successful and wealthy businessman. He co-founded M&R Capital, a boutique advisory firm that at present manages $457 million in client assets, and served as that firm’s Chief Operating Officer (‘COO’) for 25 years.


Yes, life was good for Diver, who traveled to Europe, owned a Manhattan apartment in addition to his family home in Spring Lake, New Jersey [a small well-to-do seaside community (aka “Jewel of the Jersey Shore”)] and, by his own admission, engaged in “wild” personal spending.



WHAT WENT WRONG.    As CCO, Diver was paid a base salary and quarterly discretionary bonuses. For 2017 and 2018, his total annual compensation approximated $300,000 to $350,000 – comfortable earnings, though nothing extraordinary. He also owned shares in the advisory firm.


From 2011 through 2018, Diver supplemented his ‘on the books’ earnings by stealing a total of $6 million from the company. He did so by inflating his pay by hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and by overbilling firm clients by approximately $750,000.


The scheme collapsed in early December 2018, when an advisory client complained about overbilled fees. When questioned, Diver confessed to his crimes and said he had no financial ability to repay the monies he stole.


When the dust settles on his civil and criminal charges, Diver will be banned from the industry, will be disgorged of his ill-gotten gains (to the extent he can pay), and will serve years in federal prison. And he will never again fool anyone into thinking he's a wildly successful and wealthy businessman.



[For further details about the case, go to SEC Litigation.]