March 22, 2021
A former Merrill Lynch broker in Chicago pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Friday, admitting he stole more than $3 million from multiple clients for personal expenses, including luxury hotel stays and expensive meals.
Marcus Boggs, 51, who spent his entire 12-year brokerage career with Merrill, entered the plea during a virtual hearing before U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland in the Northern District of Illinois. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for wire fraud, according to the agreement.
The former broker admitted to defrauding at least eight clients between 2008 and 2018 and using the funds to pay for “international travel, expensive meals at restaurants, rents at multiple apartments, and the mortgage on his personal residence,” the agreement said.
Boggs’ lawyer, David S. Weinstein of Hinshaw & Culbertson in Miami, did not return a request for comment.
Boggs had worked at Merrill from 2006 to December of 2018, when he was fired for “withdrawal of funds from client accounts without their knowledge or approval,” according to his BrokerCheck report.
A Merrill spokesman reiterated an earlier statement noting that the firm fired Boggs, promptly notified authorities and cooperated with federal and regulatory investigations. Affected clients had been compensated, the spokesman said.
Merrill, which was not named in the criminal complaint against Boggs, has paid more than $7.5 million in settlements to his clients, according to BrokerCheck.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred Boggs from the industry in January of 2019 for failing to respond to requests for information in its follow-up investigation of his firing.
Federal prosecutors first pressed criminal charges against Boggs in August of 2019, when he was arrested at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago trying to board an international flight.
They accused Boggs of making at least 200 wire transfers to his American Express account from multiple client accounts between 2016 and 2018.
His victims included one man who received about $5 million in a 2014 settlement after being wrongfully convicted of murder, according to the complaint. The client placed his settlement money with Boggs to manage and ensure that he had “enough funds to sustain him for the rest of his life,” the complaint said. Instead, Boggs was accused of stealing about $815,000 from the client’s accounts to pay down his credit card.
Boggs’ sentencing is scheduled for June 11.
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