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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > SEC

Advisor Allegedly Fast With $2M of Client Funds Makes SEC Furious

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A Southern California-based advisor who allegedly bought a Chevrolet Camaro using client funds and then a year later sold the same car to the client, as well as misappropriated over $2.2 million from clients, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

Mark J. Boucher, 56, of Carlsbad, California, made unauthorized transfers from client accounts to his own accounts, used client funds to pay his credit card bills and forged client signatures on checks between 2010 and 2020, according to the SEC complaint.

Boucher worked for two different firms as an associated person during the 10-year period, and at times was registered as both a registered rep and an investment advisor.

His one-person firm, incorporated in 2015 for tax purposes, ironically was called SWAG, or Strategic Wealth Advisors Group.

The SEC complaint states that not only did Boucher not tell clients when he was terminated from a broker-dealer in 2016, he also “impersonated a client over the phone in order to have authorized a fraudulent wire transfer, told a client he could trust her (while he was stealing her money) and lied and made material omissions to cover up his fraud.”

In addition, Boucher diverted funds from client accounts to pay for car insurance, dinners and trips to a five-star resort in Hawaii, according to the complaint.

Fraud Details

In one instance, he created a revocable trust for a female client that named him as trustee.

After she died, Boucher misappropriated over $1.5 million of the trust’s $1.8 million “by sending cash and securities from trust accounts to accounts he controlled, including his personal checking and brokerage accounts [and] used trust assets to pay for his personal expenses and credit card debt,” the SEC claims.

These alleged fraudulent activities took place from August 2019 to July 2020.

In addition, he misrepresented the fraud by stating that the Camaro switcheroo, for instance, was  “simply a mistake” and by taking steps “to conceal his wrongdoing from SEC Enforcement staff during the SEC’s investigation,” according to the complaint.

Boucher created numerous financial accounts in an unsuccessful attempt to obfuscate and hide his misappropriations from [the female client's] trust, and created a forged letter purportedly from [her] to create the false impression that she had gifted him $1.5 million.”

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest and civil penalties.

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