What You Need to Know
- Phillip W. Conley previously pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, admitting to swindling millions of dollars from victims in several states.
- Conley was with Merrill Lynch from 2012 until 2014.
- After leaving Merrill, he formed a company called ALPAX and persuaded people to invest in various false ventures.
The former Merrill Lynch rep who was indicted last year by a federal grand jury and accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission in a 2020 complaint of scamming pastors, churchgoers and other investors out of about $5 million between January 2014 and September 2018 has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
Phillip W. Conley, 38, of Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced on Friday to 87 months in prison for defrauding West Virginia churches, pastors and others of almost $5 million, said William J. Ihlenfeld II, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia.
Conley previously pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, admitting to swindling millions of dollars from victims in several states.
On Dec. 3, 2015, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority suspended Conley from association with any broker-dealer in any capacity for failing to comply with a FINRA arbitration award, the SEC pointed out last year, after he was indicted on six counts of mail fraud and one count of securities fraud in August 2020.
Conley was with Merrill Lynch from 2012 until 2014, according to his profile on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website, which included five disclosures over the course of his seven years in the industry. Merrill Lynch was the last company that he worked for in the industry before FINRA suspended him, according to BrokerCheck.
Merrill did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Conley had portrayed himself as an investment advisor even after his broker’s license was suspended in December 2015, Ihlenfeld said.