Former broker admits to defrauding investors of nearly $4 million


A former UBS broker, John MacColl, has confessed to stealing millions from at least 15 clients between 2008 and 2018. The confession came after a former client became suspicious about an investment made with MacColl. When the client requested an account statement, the former broker faxed a statement with several misspellings and errors.

The client then reached out to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a non-profit organization that helps protect American Investors.

Broker made up a fictional private investment

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated that in 2008, MacColl pressured at least 15 of his clients to invest in what he described as a highly desirable private fund investment. The former broker claimed the investment would show annual returns that could reach 20 percent, would help diversify their portfolios and would increase their investment growth potential.

He asked investors to sell or open a line of credit against securities in their accounts and put this money into personal bank accounts. MacColl then had his clients write checks to “Mac 011” or “Mac 01,” and he changed this name to his own name and deposited the checks into his account.

Clients invested their life savings and retirement funds

One of MacColl’s victims invested her life savings into the fictitious investment fund to raise money for her children’s tuition. Many of his other victims were older and invested their retirement accounts with the former broker.

Over the years, he provided customers with fake account statements, instructed them not to speak about the fund and even used some of the money to pay back customers with Ponzi scheme-like payments.

The accusations led to his confession

After being contacted by the suspicious client, FINRA and UBS requested an interview with MacColl. He provided both organizations with an 11-page confession of his wrongdoing.

UBS fired MacColl immediately after learning of his illegal actions and stated that it is reimbursing its clients for their losses. The SEC has filed charges against MacColl in Michigan federal court. MacColl worked for a UBS branch office in Birmingham, Michigan. The SEC is asking for a judgment that would force the former investor to pay back the money he defrauded with prejudgment interest and face civil penalties fines.