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Ex-UBS advisor gets 9 years in prison for $3.7M fraud

A former UBS financial advisor was sentenced to nine years in prison for embezzling more than $3.7 million from his clients, federal prosecutors said.

Barred broker John Maccoll had previously pleaded guilty in September and purportedly penned an 11-page confession letter to regulators in March 2018.

The Birmingham, Michigan-based broker carried out his scheme from 2010 to 2018, convincing more than a dozen UBS clients to hand over their funds for investments outside of the firm, prosecutors said.

Maccoll, 65, asked clients to wire transfer or write checks to his personal accounts, telling them their money would be invested in well-performing funds. In fact, Maccoll converted their funds for his personal use, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

His attorney did not return a request for comment.

Department of Justice DOJ

In a separate regulatory action against Maccoll last year, the SEC said the former broker’s victims were mostly elderly retirees. Maccoll provided fake statements to his clients and allegedly told them not to inform others about the purported private fund investments he was offering, which he claimed would yield annual investment returns as high as 20%, according to the regulator.

But the scheme unraveled in late 2017 when an investor began insisting on more documentation regarding the purported investments, the SEC said in court filings. Maccoll allegedly sent the client a phony account statement that “contained several obvious errors and misspellings,” prompting the client to contact UBS and FINRA.

FINRA and the SEC barred Maccoll from the industry in July and December, respectively.

An advisor for 40 years, Maccoll had worked at UBS from 2010 until the firm terminated his employment in March 2018 for “failing to cooperate into the firm's investigation that he misappropriated money from a client,” according to a note from UBS in his FINRA BrokerCheck records.

A UBS spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment.

Prior to joining UBS, Maccoll worked at Morgan Stanley, according to BrokerCheck. He currently has 23 disclosures on BrokerCheck.

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