An emergency room physician turned wealth advisor has been barred from the financial services industry and fined $250,000 after allegedly funneling his clients into a Ponzi scheme.
Scott Doak, of Xenia, Ohio, was CEO of OVO Wealth Management, an investment advisor registered in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. On Wednesday, Doak agreed to settle charges that he committed securities and advisor fraud in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission administrative proceeding.
Doak was an emergency medicine physician when he met William Apostelos in 2005. That’s where the decade-long spiral towards fraud allegations began, according to the SEC.
In 2007, Doak became a client of Apostelos and invested in Midwest Green Resources, an investment and real estate management company owned by Apostelos.
Doak subsequently resigned from his job as a physician and in 2013 founded OVO with Apostelos and others. According to OVO’s company profile, Apostelos had a 40% stake in the firm and served as treasurer.
OVO began taking on clients and holding their funds in brokerage accounts. Apostelos and Doak told some investors that their money would be invested in equities, commodities and small business loans, while others were told their money would be placed in brokerage accounts and invested in stocks, bonds and options.
Apostelos and his companies, WMA Enterprises and Midwest Green Resources, along with Doak and OVO, raised more than $66 million from roughly 350 investors, allegedly by making misrepresentations to investors to entice them.
In 2014, Doak decided to wind down OVO and began to seek new employment as a physician. He allegedly advised clients to transfer their assets to Midwest Green and other vehicles controlled by Apostelos.
The SEC claims that Doak told clients that Apostelos’s investments were legitimate and safe, and did not mention that he had not verified the representations. Doak allegedly told some clients that Midwest Green’s real estate investments would pay a 10-15% return.
During this time, Doak was paid more than $86,000 from a non-OVO account controlled by Apostelos, and did not tell clients that he and others were unsuccessfully attempting to withdraw their own funds from Apostelos’s companies and that others were threatening to sue.