A Las Vegas baggage handler found himself in hot water with regulators after allegedly accumulating more than $170 million in assets under management as an unregistered advisor.

Marcos Tamayo, 46, settled charges that he operated as an unlicensed investment advisor for 14 years today in an SEC administrative proceeding.

Tamayo allegedly founded “Bored at Work Retirement Services,” an unregistered investment advisor business, in his home in 2003, offering investment advisory services to his colleagues.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Tamayo’s clients gave him online access to their airline retirement accounts, where he allocated their assets and made trades on their behalf for a $300 annual fee.

Tamayo would use a “market timing” strategy with client accounts, pouring all of their assets into a single mutual fund available through the retirement plan, then selling everything when he felt like the time was right, said the complaint. He would invest client assets in a bond fund while waiting to choose the next investment.

Bored at Work began to grow rapidly near the end of 2015, when Tamayo allegedly made Facebook posts falsely claiming to have about $1 million in his own retirement account. According to the SEC’s complaint, Tamayo cropped an image of a client’s account statement to give the impression that he had a high balance in his retirement account.

By the end of 2016, Tamayo had more than $110 million in client retirement AUM, said the SEC, and when Nevada regulators ordered him to suspend his investment advisory business, he had 934 clients and $172 million AUM. According to the SEC, between January and August 2017, Tamayo received more than $150,000 in advisory fees.

The SEC alleges that Tamayo “repeatedly and significantly” exaggerated his own assets as well as his client AUM to clients and prospects, failed to keep books and records, and did not have the required written code of ethics or policies and procedures.

In August 2017, Tamayo was issued a cease-and-desist order by Nevada’s Securities Division, claiming he had violated Nevada law by operating as an unregistered advisor. Following that order, Tamayo refunded more than $5,000 to his clients.

In an attempt to resume his business, Tamayo filed a Form ADV with the SEC in May 2018 but failed to disclose the cease-and-desist order from Nevada.

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