U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22350 / April 30, 2012
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Michael J. McNerney, Civil Action No. 1:12-cv-21627
SEC FILES CHARGES AGAINST FORMER ATTORNEY FOR MUTUAL BENEFITS
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed a complaint against Defendant Michael J. McNerney, charging him with violations of the federal securities laws arising from his involvement in Mutual Benefits Corp.’s (“MBC”) offering fraud which raised more than $1 billion from approximately 29,000 investors. From 1995 through at least May 2004, McNerney served as primary securities regulatory counsel for MBC. The complaint alleges thatin this role, he helped conceal the fraud, met with investors, and supervised the filing of false reports with state regulators. The Commission’s complaint charges McNerney with aiding and abetting MBC’s violations of Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Commission seeks permanent injunctive relief against McNerney, who has consented to the entry of Final Judgment providing for full injunctive relief.
In addition to the civil action against McNerney, the Commission simultaneously issued an Order pursuant to Rule 102(e)(2) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice forthwith suspending McNerney from appearing or practicing before the Commission based on the entries of a felony conviction against him. On August 26, 2011, the Honorable Adalberto Jordan, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, sentenced McNerney to 5 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay restitution, along with his co-conspirators, in the amount of $826,839,642.
On May 3, 2004, the Commission first halted the on-going fraud at MBC when it filed a contested emergency civil enforcement action against MBC and its principals. In its complaint, the Commission alleged that the defendants raised over $1 billion from thousands of investors through a fraudulent, unregistered offering of securities in the form of fractionalized interests in viatical and life settlements. The Commission obtained a restraining order to halt the alleged fraud at MBC, and thereafter the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed a receiver to identify and trace the assets of MBC.
The Commission’s actions regarding MBC have resulted in nine injunctions and other relief against nine defendants and eight relief defendants, and orders to pay disgorgement and civil penalties totaling $30 million. In addition, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida has charged 12 defendants in criminal actions for their roles in the fraud.
The SEC acknowledges the work of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division in this matter.
For additional information see Litigation Release No. 18698 (May 6, 2004), Litigation Release No. 19274 (June 20, 2005), Litigation Release No. 19480 (December 1, 2005), Litigation Release No. 19978 (January 24, 2007), Litigation Release No. 20151 (June 13, 2007), Litigation Release No. 20459 (February 15, 2008), Litigation Release No. 20521 (April 7, 2008), and Litigation Release No. 20521 (April 7, 2008), and Litigation Release No. 22084 (September 7, 2011).