The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday accused a suburban Baltimore investment adviser of fraudulently using some $500,000 in customers' funds to buy stock options for himself and to pay some of his living expenses.

John Harvey Kimmel III of Lutherville, Md., is due to appear today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on the fraud charges.. According to the complaint, Kimmel, 28, did not invest customers' funds but, instead, used the money for living expenses, the purchase of an automobile, and trading for his own account in stock options. In one instance, he also paid off one customer from another's account, the complaint said.

The SEC said the alleged scheme was discovered last Thursday when a customer complained that a check had failed to clear. Kimmel, who did business as Executive Investment Corp. from October 1981 until last week, had 44 customers.

In an affidavit, SEC investigator Frederick H. Florschutz said that Kimmel "admitted that on most occasions he did not purchase the securities ordered by clients, but instead deposited the monies and securities in his own personal accounts and used them to, among other things, pay back personal loans, pay personal living expenses (including home mortgage payments and the purchase of an automobile) and to purchase options in his own securities trading accounts."