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SEC charges ex-UBS broker with $4M fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged John Maccoll, a former broker with UBS Group AG in Birmingham, Mich., with defrauding his customers out of nearly $4 million in an investment scam.

According to the SEC's complaint, Maccoll used high-pressure sales tactics to solicit at least 15 of his customers to invest in his scheme. Most of the affected customers were elderly and retired and invested through their retirement accounts.

Maccoll claimed investors would receive annual returns as high as 20% and that the potential investment growth was better than the growth they received in their brokerage accounts. To keep the scheme secret and running, Maccoll paid more than $400,000 in payments to certain of the customers.

The SEC complaint further stated that these claims were false and that Maccoll used the customers' money for personal use. The regulator is seeking a judgment ordering Maccoll to turn over his illegal gains with prejudgment interest, and to pay civil penalties.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan has filed criminal charges against Maccoll. UBS fired him in March as he failed to respond to an internal probe into his conduct. In addition, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred him for not responding to an information request.