A Florida investment advisor has been charged criminally and civilly for cheating his unsophisticated and elderly clients out of nearly $2 million, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday.
Michael Donnelly of Lecanto, Fla., the former president of Wilmington, Del.-based Coastal Investment Advisors Inc., admitted the SEC charges and agreed to a settlement that permanently bars him from the financial business.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal district court in Philadelphia, Donnelly took funds from elderly and unsophisticated investors and instead of investing it as promised, used it to pay for his own expenses, including rent, car payments, golf club membership dues, and his children’s private school tuition.
He concealed his scheme by providing investors with false account statements, trade confirmations, and other bogus information that purportedly reflected their investment holdings and repeatedly told investors that their fictitious “investments” were performing well, the SEC says. The scheme ran from 2007 through August 2014.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has filed criminal charges for the same scheme.
Donnelly agreed to disgorge his ill-gotten gains of $1.9 million and to pay interest of $365,723.