SEC Charges California Investment Adviser with Fraud for Stealing More Than $2.2 Million from Retail Investors

Litigation Release No. 24875 / August 25, 2020

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Mark J. Boucher and Strategic Wealth Advisor Group Services Inc., No. 3:20-cv-01650 (S.D. Cal. filed August 25, 2020)

The SEC today charged California-based investment adviser Mark J. Boucher and his company Strategic Wealth Advisor Group Services Inc. ("SWAG") with misappropriating more than $2.2 million from advisory clients.

According to the SEC's complaint, from 2010 to 2020, Boucher made unauthorized transfers from client accounts to his own accounts, used client funds to pay his credit card bills, and forged a client's signature on checks. As set forth in the complaint, Boucher used a significant portion of the misappropriated funds to pay for his extravagant personal expenses, including vacations and travel. In one instance, Boucher allegedly misappropriated funds from a client to purchase a Chevrolet Camaro, and then, over a year later, sold the car to the client. According to the complaint, Boucher also attempted to conceal his misappropriations, including forging a letter, purportedly from a client from whom Boucher misappropriated over $1.5 million in trust funds, in an attempt to convince SEC staff that the client had gifted him the funds a few days before she died.

The SEC's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, charges Boucher and SWAG with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1) and (2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Stephen T. Kaiser and Matthew B. Reisig, with assistance from Daniel Maher, who will lead the SEC's litigation. The case was supervised by Tim England and Melissa Hodgman.