The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged John Maccoll, a former broker with UBS in Birmingham, Mich., with running an investment scam in which he stole nearly $4 million from customers.
According to the SEC's complaint, Mr. Maccoll used high-pressure sales tactics to solicit at least 15 of his customers — most of whom were elderly and retired — to invest in what he described as a highly sought-after private fund investment.
Mr. Maccoll told them that the investment would allow them to diversify their portfolios, receive annual investment returns as high as 20%, and give them investment growth potential that was better than the growth they received in their brokerage accounts.
In addition to alleging that those claims were false, the SEC complaint charges that Mr. Maccoll did not invest the customers' money but stole it for his own personal use. To conceal the scheme, he 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 over $400,000 in Ponzi-like payments to certain of the customers to keep the scheme alive.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan has filed criminal charges against Mr. Maccoll, who was discharged from UBS in March after failing to respond to an internal investigation into his conduct. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. barred Mr. Maccoll for failing to respond for a request for information.