The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a former registered representative with allegedly defrauding his brokerage customers out of nearly $4 million in a long-running investment scam.
According to the SEC’s complaint, John C. Maccoll, who was affiliated with the Birmingham, Michigan branch of registered broker-dealer and investment adviser UBS Financial Services Inc., is accused of using high pressure sales tactics to solicit at least 15 of his retail brokerage customers to invest in what he described as a highly-sought-after private fund investment. Most of the injured customers were elderly and retired and invested through their retirement accounts.
Maccoll told his customers that the purported fund investment would allow them to diversify their portfolios, receive annual investment returns as high as 20 percent, and give them investment growth potential that was better than the growth they received in their brokerage accounts.
“As alleged in the complaint, Maccoll’s statements to his customers were false – he did not invest the customers’ money but stole it for his own personal use,” the SEC said.
To conceal the scheme, Maccoll allegedly instructed his customers not to tell others about the purported fund investment, provided some of his customers with fake account statements reflecting fictitious returns, and paid more than $400,000 in Ponzi-like payments to certain of the customers.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan also filed criminal charges against Maccoll. The SEC is seeking a judgment ordering him to disgorge his ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and to pay civil penalties.
Maccoll spent 12 years at UBS before being barred by FINRA this year. He was previously affiliated with Morgan Stanley DW Inc. for 20 years.