An Arizona man, acting as a financial advisor, stole $700,000 in retirement savings from elderly investors, including three married couples, and used it for personal expenses, including paying rent for his apartment, the SEC has charged in a civil complaint.

Between April 2017 and May 2018, Conrad Coggeshall, 52, of Scottsdale told investors that they were investing in Business Owners Tax Relief LLC, a which he described as a successful mergers and acquisitions firm based in New York that would pay investors periodic interest at fixed rates, the SEC complaint said.

But no such firm existed and the investors’ funds were not safe, insured, or used for their stated purpose, the SEC said. Coggeshall deposited investors' funds into brokerage and bank accounts for an Arizona company he owns with the same name and which does not engage in mergers or acquisitions, the complaint said.

Coggeshall then used the investors’ funds to trade securities, incurring significant losses, and to pay personal expenses, including the rent for his apartment and debit card purchases at grocery, convenience and drug stores, the SEC said. Coggeshall also used funds from these accounts to make payments to prior investors, which he falsely represented were interest payments from the New York mergers and acquisitions firm, the SEC said.

Coggeshall was an investment advisor and registered representative from June 2015 until January 2018 at Packerland Brokerage Services Inc. in Scottsdale, according to SEC and Finra records. It was the last registration filed by Coggeshall with either the SEC or Finra.

Before then, he worked as a hybrid advisor at USA Financial Securities Corp. in Peoria, Ariz, from 2014 to 2015, and AdvisorNet Wealth Management in Scottsdale from 2003 to 2014, according to SEC data.

The SEC said he developed long-standing relationships with several elderly investors, including married couples who lived or had relatives living in Arizona. He met them through community events and retirement planning seminars offered by one of Coggeshall’s former employers and gained their trust by, among other things, providing advice about the investors’ retirement planning and finances, the complaint said.

The SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, seeks permanent injunction, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil money penalties against Coggeshall and disgorgement and prejudgment interest from Business Owners Tax Relief, which the SEC named as a relief defendant.