In 2018, Carlsbad wealth advisor Mark Boucher sold one of his clients a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for $ 52,000.
But, according to prosecutors, the client had already paid it unwittingly.
According to an unsealed federal indictment on Thursday, Boucher had stolen $ 60,000 from the client’s brokerage account a year and a half earlier – and even impersonated him on the phone to verify the transaction – to buy the car from. sport for itself. After driving it for a while, he sold it back to the client – essentially making the client pay twice as much, according to the indictment and separate claims from the US Securities and Exchange Commission .
In total, Boucher is accused of stealing around $ 2 million from customers, spending their money on personal expenses such as vacations to Hawaii, steak dinners, plane tickets for various women, rent and investments in securities, according to court records.
He has been charged with several offenses: investment advisor fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft and obstruction of justice.
He pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in San Diego and was allowed to remain free on $ 500,000 bail. His lawyer, Marc Nurik, said on Friday he would not comment on the case outside of court proceedings.
The criminal charges stem from allegations uncovered by the SEC, which filed a lawsuit in federal court against Boucher last year. In a court filing in the SEC case, Nurik issued a blanket denial of the allegations.
Boucher operated a sole proprietorship under the name of Strategic Wealth Advisors Group – or SWAG. He was fired in 2016 from an investment firm but told his clients he left voluntarily, court records show.
After that, he was affiliated with another company, until allegations of fraud surfaced and his association with the company was terminated, according to records.
The criminal charges relate to four victims, as well as a revocable trust created by one of the victims, who later died.
The deceased client had directed the assets of her estate to Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. Boucher, who was appointed successor trustee, instead transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars into accounts for his personal use, according to the SEC lawsuit.
Boucher is also accused of forging a client’s signature on multiple checks to pay for personal expenses, and also allegedly forged communications that made it appear that a client owed him the money he had stolen, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors say Boucher hampered investigations into his financial transactions by submitting false and misleading documents to the SEC, as well as the San Diego Superior Court “to cover up his fraud and hamper his investigation and civil case” in the part of a dispute surrounding the deceased customer. domain.
Boucher invoked the Fifth Amendment in the SEC case in response to discovery requests and declined to appear for a deposition, according to documents filed by SEC attorneys. The SEC filed a petition earlier this week asking the judge to resolve the case before trial by ruling on the merits in favor of the government.