The Securities & Exchange Commission has charged Seattle-area financial advisor, Mark Spangler, with defrauding clients by secretly investing $47.7 million in, what the SEC called, two "risky" start-up companies Spangler co-founded.

Spangler, who was chairman of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, or NAPFA, from 1996 to 1998, was president and CEO of The Spangler Group, a fee-based registered investment advisory firm specializing in investing in venture capital firms before filing for bankruptcy last year.

The SEC accused Spangler of telling clients he would invest the money in public companies, when he allegedly invested the money into private ventures, according to a statement from the regulator that was released Thursday.

Spangler raised more than $56 million from his clients since 1998 for several private investment funds he managed, according to the SEC. Beginning in 2003, the SEC said Spangler began to divert a majority of the funds into two private technology companies he created. One of the companies collapsed, despite receiving more than $42 million from the investment funds, the SEC said.

Spangler also faces parallel charges in federal court, according to the SEC.

By the end of last year, The Spangler Group had $106 million in assets under management, according to the firm’s most recent Form ADV Part 2A, filed in March 2011. The Spangler Group was forced to file for receivership in bankruptcy court in 2011, according to media reports.

Attempts to reach The Spangler Group were unsuccessful because the number to the firm’s office was not in service.

Spangler's attorney, Jon Zulauf at Zulauf & Chambliss Law Offices in Seattle, said he wanted to review the complaint before commenting.

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