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SEC Charges Adviser with Fraud for Stealing More Than $2.2 Million from Retail Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged California-based investment adviser Mark J. Boucher and his company Strategic Wealth Advisor Group Services Inc. with misappropriating more than $2.2 million from advisory clients.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged California-based investment adviser Mark J. Boucher and his company Strategic Wealth Advisor Group Services Inc. with misappropriating more than $2.2 million from advisory clients.

According to the SEC’s complaint, from 2010 to 2020, Boucher allegedly made unauthorized transfers from client accounts to his own accounts, used client funds to pay his credit card bills, and forged a client’s signature on checks. The SEC claims that Boucher used a significant portion of the misappropriated funds to pay for extravagant personal expenses, including vacations and travel.

According to his BrokerCheck profile, Boucher spent two years at SCF Investment Advisors before he was terminated in May 2019. The firm stated in the notes section of his profile that the “advisor admitted to misappropriating customer funds to pay various credit card companies, and the customer has been made whole.” Before that, he spent less than one year with Northwest Asset Management, and from 2000 to 2016, he was affiliated with broker-dealer Raymond James Financial Services.

In one instance, Boucher allegedly sold securities and wired $60,000 of the proceeds from a client’s advisory account to a car dealership to purchase a Chevrolet Camaro. To authorize the wire transfer, he purportedly impersonated the client on a telephone call with a representative of a brokerage firm. A year and a half later, he sold the Camaro back to the same client for $52,000.

In another alleged scheme, Boucher stole $1.5 million over the course of one year from the trust of an elderly client. During an SEC investigation, he allegedly forged a letter from her to convince SEC enforcement staff that she had gifted him the $1.5 million a few days before she died.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

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