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Local financal adviser gets 9 years for embezzlement

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 18, 2019

BIRMINGHAM — A financial adviser at a Birmingham agency was sentenced to nine years in prison last week after pleading guilty to embezzling millions from his clients.

John Maccoll, 65, of Rochester Hills, pleaded guilty to wire fraud last September after being charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Eastern District of Michigan. Judge Bernard Friedman issued the sentence Feb. 12 after a plea agreement was reached.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said Maccoll advised his clients at USB Financial, 325 N. Old Woodward Ave., to wire funds or write checks to his personal accounts in order to take advantage of investment vehicles that he claimed weren’t available through USB. He’d then tell those clients that the funds they had “invested” were performing well and that they should send more money. More than a dozen individuals were taken by the scheme between April 2010 and March 2018, with a total loss of more than $3.7 million, according to the  U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Eastern District of Michigan.

“Let this sentence be a deterrent to anyone who tries to take advantage of those who seek to invest their hard-earned money for their retirement,” Schneider said in a press release. “Our office is committed to vigorously prosecute these types of economic crimes because of their damaging effect on our society.”

Maccoll’s attorney, Raphael Villarruel, did not respond to a request for comment on his client’s case before press time.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Detroit Metro Identity Theft and Financial Crimes Task Force, with assistance from the Birmingham Police Department.

“This is another example of how our collaborations, whether it is with the FBI Crime Task Force or other regional law enforcement, help protect the residents and stakeholders of Birmingham,” BPD Chief Mark Clemence said in an email.