According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor John Maccoll (Maccoll), formerly associated with UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) in Birmingham, Michigan was barred by FINRA. In addition, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Maccoll with defrauding his brokerage customers out of nearly $4 million in an investment scam.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Maccoll used 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. The SEC claims that most of the victims were elderly and retired and invested through their retirement accounts. The SEC claims that Maccoll told his customers that the purported fund 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. The SEC alleges that these statements were false and that Maccoll did not invest the customers’ money but in fact stole it for his own personal use. The SEC charged that $3.6 million was spent on his own personal expenses. To conceal the scheme, the SEC alleged that Maccoll 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.
In conjunction with the SEC’s action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan filed criminal charges against Maccoll.