SEC Charges Michigan Investment Professional in an Investment Scam Targeting His Brokerage Customers

Litigation Release No. 24230 / August 9, 2018

Securities and Exchange Commission v. John C. Maccoll, No. 2:18-cv-12473-SFC-DRG (E.D. Michigan filed August 9, 2018)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former registered representative with 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 a nationwide registered broker dealer and investment adviser, 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. 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%, 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. In total, the customers invested nearly $4 million in the fraudulent scheme. 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 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 today filed criminal charges against Maccoll.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in the Eastern District of Michigan, charges Maccoll with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC is seeking a judgment ordering Maccoll to disgorge his ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and to pay civil penalties.

The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, is being conducted by Richard G. Stoltz, Craig L. McShane and Anne C. McKinley of the Chicago Regional Office. The litigation will be led by John E. Birkenheier, Ms. McKinley and Mr. Stoltz. The case is being supervised by Kathryn A. Pyszka. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and FINRA.