Erez Law is currently investigating former UBS Financial Services Inc. financial advisor John MacColl (CRD# 839441) regarding losses sustained from a Ponzi-like scheme that bilked at least 15 investors out of $4 million.
MacColl was registered with UBS Financial Services Inc. in Birmingham, Michigan from 2006 to March 2018, when he was terminated regarding, “FA was discharged after failing to cooperate into the Firm’s investigation that he misappropriated money from a client. FA later informed the Firm that he misappropriated funds from 13 clients.”
In August 2018, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged MacColl with defrauding customers out of nearly $4 million for a scheme that ran between 2008 and 2018. According to the SEC complaint, MacColl used high-pressure sales tactics to solicit at least 15 customers to invest in a “highly sought after private fund investment.” Unfortunately, most of the customers were elderly and retired. One former client entrusted MacColl with her life savings, which included money from her deceased husband’s life insurance policy payout, which she intended to use to pay for college tuition for her three children
According to the SEC, “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 instead MacColl instead used the customers’ money for his personal use. According to the SEC, “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.”
According to the SEC complaint, MacColl instructed investors to sell or take a line of credit out against the securities in their accounts and to deposit the money into their personal bank accounts. MacColl allegedly asked clients to make checks payable to “Mac 011” or “Mac 01,” and then added his first name to the payee line and deposited the checks. MacColl also allegedly told his clients they should expect little information directly from the fund including a prospectus, trade confirmations or account statements.
Additionally, after MacColl missed an interview with UBS and FINRA, he allegedly wrote an 11-page letter that detailed and admitted to misappropriating client funds.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan also filed criminal charges against Maccoll.
In July 2018, FINRA barred MacColl after he failed to respond to FINRA request for information.
MacColl has been the subject of 14 customer complaints between 1990 and 2018, one of which was denied, according to his CRD report. Recent complaints include:
- July 2018. “Time Frame: January 3, 2011 to December 30, 2016 The client’s attorney alleges that the former FA systematically withdrew funds from the account and diverted those funds to a fraudulent scheme.” The customer is seeking $690,000 in damages and the case is currently pending.
- May 2018. “Time Frame: December 6, 2017 The client alleges the FA told her to write out a check to JMAC011 as this would be a good way to hide the funds and protect them The alleged damages are estimated to be in excess of $5,000.00.” The customer is seeking $95,791.95 in damages and the case is currently pending.
- May 2018. “Time Frame: April 19, 2017 to February 12, 2018 The client’s attorney alleges FA led his client’s astray and preyed upon them regarding their Hatteras investment and expects to be made whole The alleged damages are estimated to be in excess of $5,000.00.” The customer is seeking $131,430.26 in damages and the case is currently pending.
- April 2018. “Time Frame: April 19, 2017 to February 12, 2018 Allegations: The client alleges misappropriation, mismanagement and being told they would get a huge return on the investment and losses.” The case was settled for $942,520.33.
- March 2018. “Time Frame: April 19, 2017 to January 3, 2017 to March 28, 2018 The client’s daughter alleges the Financial Advisor defrauded her father.” The customer is seeking $820,231.49 in damages and the case is currently pending.
- March 2018. “Time Frame: April 19, 2017 to February 12, 2018 Client alleges she gave monies to FA to invest into an “outside investment” and has only received $40,000 back despite being told her account was worth considerably more. Client states she was told this was a “special offering” and to not discuss with anyone else.” The case was settled for $239,801.35.
- March 2018. “Time Frame: January 3, 2017 to March 19, 2018 Allegations: The client’s Attorney alleges that his client was led to believe that his Financial Advisor was going to place his money in a better and more suitable investment. The client’s attorney alleges this was never done and he lost his entire UBS retirement account. The client’s attorney finally alleges had major tax implications due to this. The alleged damages are estimated to be in excess of $5,000.00.” The case was settled for $348,347.43.
- March 2018. “Time Frame: April 19, 2017 to February 12, 2018 Client alleges FA committed fraud.” The case was settled for $173,892.04.
Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, UBS Financial Services Inc. may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by MacColl’s customers.
Erez Law represents investors in the United States for claims against brokers and brokerage firms for wrongdoing. If and have experienced investment losses, please call us at 888-840-1571 or complete our contact form for a free consultation. Erez Law is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies on a contingency fee basis.