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Ex-Merrill Broker Gets 3.5 Years in Prison for Defrauding Clients

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What You Need to Know

  • The ex-broker, Marcus Boggs, had pleaded guilty to scamming more than $3 million from clients.
  • His victims included a client wrongly imprisoned for several years.
  • Boggs used the money to pay his credit cards and mortgage, the prosecutor said.

A former Merrill Lynch broker who pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud after scamming clients out of more than $3 million was sentenced Thursday to 42 months in prison.

Marcus E. Boggs, 51, of Chicago had swindled clients including a man who received compensation from the state of Illinois for being imprisoned for years after being wrongfully convicted of a 1991 sexual assault, kidnapping and murder of a teenage girl, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, John R. Lausch Jr., said Friday while announcing Boggs’ sentencing.

DNA testing had exonerated the man, who was released from prison and received about $5 million from the state of Illinois. He retained Boggs to manage and invest some of the money but Boggs instead stole about $800,000 of the client’s funds, according to Lausch.

Asked to comment on the sentencing Friday, a Merrill spokesman only pointed to what the firm previously said on the matter: “We fired Mr. Boggs in December 2018 after an internal investigation found he stole client funds and made unauthorized transactions. We notified the appropriate authorities and have cooperated with their investigations. Consistent with our policy, Merrill Lynch notified affected clients and has reimbursed them.”

When asked for comment on Friday, Kenneth Yeadon, a partner at law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson in Chicago who is representing Boggs, said only: “I am going to let our arguments to the court and in our sentencing papers speak for us.”

Boggs spent 12 years as a registered representative with Merrill, joining the firm in 2006, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website. FINRA barred him from the industry in 2019; the Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2020.

More Details

Boggs had represented to clients and Merrill that he would use client funds to buy and sell securities. In reality, however, Boggs instead spent more than $3 million of his clients’ funds over a 10-year period to pay his personal credit cards and the mortgage on his residence, Lausch said. His credit card purchases included international vacations, expensive dinners at restaurants and rent for multiple apartments that Boggs leased in Chicago, according to Lausch.

In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland on Thursday ordered Boggs to pay more than $3.08 million in restitution to the victims.

One day before his sentencing, the attorneys representing Boggs submitted a letter of support to Judge Rowland, court documents show. The letter was written by Dr. Makunda Abdul-Mbacke, who identified himself as a Yale-trained obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in Virginia and a close friend of Boggs who had known him since 1992.

The doctor requested that Rowland credit Boggs for time served and consider sentencing him to community service instead of additional prison time due to the fact that he confessed to his crimes and was “deeply apologetic,” he had never been convicted of any crime before, and he has “major health concerns.”

Boggs had a “personal relationship with his clients and knew what they hoped to achieve with their life savings and retirement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Mitchell argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “But that didn’t stop him from stealing their hard-earned money.”