Former Merrill Lynch Advisor Marcus E. Boggs Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, To Serve 3.5 Years

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices represents investors who’ve suffered losses from financial advisors who’ve swindled investors by converting or stealing their money.

Marcus E. Boggs, a Chicago-based registered investment advisor and former Merrill Lynch financial advisor, told his clients that he would use their funds to buy securities. Instead, in the ultimate deceit, he stole their money to pay for his personal expenses. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, Boggs “spent more than $3 million of his clients’ funds over a ten-year period to pay his personal credit cards and the mortgage on his residence.  His credit card purchases included international vacations, expensive dinners at restaurants, and rent for multiple apartments that Boggs leased in Chicago.”

Moreover, Boggs even stole money from a client who received a wrongful imprisonment settlement. “One of the defrauded clients was wrongfully imprisoned for several years after being convicted of a 1991 sexual assault, kidnapping, and murder of a teenage girl.  After DNA testing exonerated the client and led to his release from prison, he received approximately $5 million from the State of Illinois and retained Boggs to manage and invest some of the money.  Boggs instead stole approximately $800,000 of the client’s funds.”

Boggs, 51, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud.  In addition to a 36-month prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland ordered Boggs to pay more than $3.08 million in restitution to the victims, the U.S. Attorney’s office stated.

“Defendant had a personal relationship with his clients and knew what they hoped to achieve with their life savings and retirement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Mitchell argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “But that didn’t stop him from stealing their hard-earned money.”

Registered Investment Advisors, brokers and financial advisors often use personal connections to build their client base. They may sponsor “free” lunches, speak at libraries, places of worship or civic groups. They may even offer “seminars” on estate planning, taxes or investing. They are not offering uncompensated advice. They are trolling for new clients and always garner generous commissions and fees from what they’re selling.

You should avoid these events. The best financial planners and advisors rarely advertise and you can easily check their backgrounds on BrokerCheck. You can also check the background of Registered Investment Advisors through the SEC or state securities regulators. While these searches may not reveal ongoing criminal activity, they can throw up some red flags so that you can avoid advisors who have a checkered past.

Have you invested with brokers who done transactions without your permission or have sold you money-losing or unusually ambitious-returning investments from shady managers? FINRA and the SEC have strict rules on disclosing risk profiles on all investments sold by brokers and investment advisers. If they fail to fully inform you of downside risk, you may have a case in arbitration.

Firms are also legally required by FINRA to monitor and supervise what their brokers are selling – their investments must be vetted and authorized by the firms – and have an obligation to investors to fully reveal true risk and return information about the vehicles sold. Broker-dealers and advisors are also required to fully vet all of the investments they are selling to determine if they are suitable for your age and risk tolerance. Investors can file FINRA arbitration complaints if these rules are broken.

If you invested with a broker-advisor and lost money as a result, you may have a claim to pursue through arbitration or litigation. Please contact Stoltmann Law Offices, P.C. at 312-332-4200 for a free, no obligation consultation with a securities attorney. Stoltmann Law Offices is a contingency fee law firm which means we do not get paid until you do!

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