Fired Merrill advisor arrested at airport on fraud charge

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Accused of defrauding his clients of millions over a nine-year period, a fired Merrill Lynch advisor was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport before boarding a flight.

Marcus Boggs, 49, was apprehended by authorities Aug. 22, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Over a nine-year period, he allegedly defrauded clients of more than $2.1 million, authorities say.

When arrested, he was preparing to board a flight to Germany. He had a one-way ticket, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Federal prosecutors charged Boggs with one count of wire fraud. In a separate action, the SEC filed civil charges against the FINRA-barred advisor who is being held in federal custody.

An attorney representing Boggs did not respond to a request for comment.

Boggs’ alleged victims included a man who received $5 million in a wrongful conviction settlement. The man hired Boggs to help manage his investments. Boggs instead allegedly stole $815,000 from the client’s accounts, using the funds to pay personal credit card debt, authorities say.

Another alleged victim was the father of one of Boggs’ college associates. The client had sold his house and asked Boggs to help invest the proceeds, authorities say. Boggs allegedly used $127,000 of the client’s funds to pay off American Express and Citibank credit card bills.

Boggs became a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in 2006, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. He oversaw approximately $40 million in client assets, according to the SEC’s civil complaint.

He was active in Chicago’s philanthropic community, the SEC says, and regularly attended a variety of fundraising events, where he’d mingle with wealthy individuals. He was also an avid traveler, staying in luxury hotels in Europe, South America and the Caribbean, the regulator says.

Investigators at Merrrill Lynch discovered “suspicious transfers involving Boggs’ clients’ accounts” in late 2018, according to the criminal complaint. When they tried to interview Boggs about the transactions, he declined to answer their questions. Merrill terminated him Dec. 10 for “conduct including withdrawal of funds from client accounts without their knowledge or approval,” according to a note contained in his BrokerCheck record.

“We detected possible inappropriate activity and began an investigation,” a spokesman for the bank says. “We fired Mr. Boggs after that investigation found that he stole client funds and made unauthorized transactions. We then notified appropriate authorities and have cooperated with their investigations. And per Merrill’s policies, we notified clients.”

The firm has paid more than $4.5 million to clients for Boggs’ alleged misconduct, according to BrokerCheck records.

FINRA barred him from the industry in January.

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Securities fraud Wirehouse advisors Merrill Lynch DoJ U.S. Attorneys Office FBI SEC