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Barred Broker Whose Probation Was Revoked Pleads Guilty to Fraud

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What You Need to Know

  • A former Raymond James Financial and Alliance Global Partners broker pleaded guilty on Monday to one count each of bank and wire fraud for defrauding his clients.
  • The barred broker's probation was recently revoked after he took an unauthorized Caribbean trip.
  • Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25 and he faces up to 50 years in prison, even with the plea deal.

The former Raymond James Financial and Alliance Global Partners broker whose probation was recently revoked after he violated its terms by allegedly taking an unauthorized trip to the Caribbean pleaded guilty on Monday to one count each of bank and wire fraud for defrauding his clients, according to court documents.

Michael Francis Shillin, 32, faces up to 50 years of prison as part of a plea agreement that was reached between him and the Justice Department last month in which he agreed to plead guilty to just one count of wire fraud for which he would serve up to 20 years in prison and one count of bank fraud for which he would serve up to 30 years in prison.

Shillin’s plea was provided during a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on Monday.

A presentence report is due July 21, with objections scheduled for Aug. 4 and sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25 at 9 a.m.

Prior to the plea deal, Shillin faced much longer sentences if convicted of all 10 of the bank and wire fraud charges against him. He faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each wire fraud charge and a maximum penalty of 30 years on the bank fraud charge, according to the Justice Department.

As part of the plea agreement, he also agreed to five years of supervised release and to pay a $1.25 million fine and $200 special assessment.

Shillin, owner of financial advisory firm Shillin Wealth Management, had been charged by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission with defrauding his clients.

The Oct. 27, 2021 indictment against Shillin by the Justice Department alleged that he engaged in a scheme to defraud clients by making misrepresentations to them.

Caribbean Trip

Arguments were heard last month in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin after the probation office petitioned for revocation of Shillin’s pretrial release after it was learned he traveled to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Shillin took the trip despite his request to travel there having been denied by the court and Justice Department before he went.

The probation office’s request for Shillin to be detained was granted by the court and he was detained pending his trial and sentencing, according to court documents.

Raymond James, AGP and Kathleen Quinn, the attorney representing Shillin, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

9 Counts of Wire Fraud

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Shillin in October. The Justice Department charged him with nine counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.

Shillin allegedly told his clients that he bought nonpublic stock of well-known companies on their behalf and that they made hundreds of thousands of dollars on those investments when Shillin had actually not purchased the stocks at all, according to the indictment.

The indictment further alleged that Shillin convinced several clients to buy insurance policies by misrepresenting the cost of the policies and the benefits, and that Shillin received commission payments on some of those policies. He also allegedly provided clients with fraudulent tax documents to make them appear eligible for tax breaks to which they weren’t entitled.

The indictment also charged Shillin with defrauding a bank by obtaining two loans totaling $462,000 on behalf of his company, SWM, by using fraudulent collateral. The indictment alleged that he provided an account statement showing that SWM owned an account with a balance of over $1.2 million, when actually it was a client who owned and controlled the account.

Barred From the Industry

Shillin was a registered representative and broker with Raymond James from 2014 to 2018 and served in the same roles at Alliance Global Partners from 2018 to 2020, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.

On Nov. 18, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin entered a partial judgment against Shillin in a civil action that was filed by the SEC on Sept. 23, charging him with defrauding at least 100 clients.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Shillin, while acting as an advisor, fabricated documents and made misrepresentations to clients, many of whom were older adults.

Shillin was the subject of 37 client disputes, according to his BrokerCheck report. All were filed after he was terminated by Raymond James on May 21, 2018, and resigned from AGP on Oct. 2, 2020, while under investigation for alleged securities violations. In the disputes, many of which are still pending, Shillin was accused of making a diverse array of misrepresentations to clients.

In December, Shillin was barred from the industry by FINRA after he refused to produce information or documents or give on-the-record testimony as requested by FINRA staff. The SEC issued an order in January permanently barring Shillin from the financial services industry.

(Image: Shutterstock)