SEC Obtains Summary Judgment Against California Investment Adviser Charged with Stealing from Advisory Clients

Litigation Release No. 25329 / February 11, 2022

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 Securities and Exchange Commission announced that on February 8, 2022, Chief Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted the SEC's motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability against California-based investment adviser Mark J. Boucher and his company Strategic Wealth Advisor Group Services Inc. ("SWAG"). According to the SEC's complaint, Boucher and SWAG defrauded advisory clients by misappropriating more than $2.2 million from advisory accounts.

The court ruled that the SEC was entitled to summary judgment on liability on all its claims, including violations of 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 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The court held that: (1) the undisputed facts showed that the defendants, acting with scienter, stole money from their clients and (2) that defendants, who relied on unauthenticated documents in their opposition to the SEC's motion, failed to demonstrate any genuine issue of triable fact. The court also denied the defendants' renewed motion to stay the action given an ongoing parallel criminal proceeding.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Stephen T. Kaiser and Matthew B. Reisig, under the supervision of Tim England and Melissa Hodgman. James E. Smith and Daniel Maher are leading the SEC's litigation under the supervision of Frederick Block.

For further information, please see Litigation Release Number 24875 (August 25, 2020): SEC Charges California Investment Adviser with Fraud for Stealing More Than $2.2 Million from Retail Investors.