SEC Alleges Former Merrill Broker Bilked $500,000 From Customers
NEW YORK (AP) _ The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a a former Merrill Lynch & Co. stockbroker with bilking more than $500,000 from customers to pay off gambling debts and fatten his personal account.
The civil lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court claims that Marc Stuart Weiner deposited $99,000 in clients’ money into his own bank account and the rest into the accounts of nine other people from April 1986 to July 1987.
One alleged fraud involved $200,000 from an elderly widow the SEC said represented the proceeds from the sale of her home. The lawsuit claims Weiner invested only $80,000 of the woman’s money and told her the remaining $120,000 was safely invested, despite discrepancies on her account statement.
According to the lawsuit, Weiner deposited $131,000 into three accounts to satisfy gambling debts. The SEC said it is unaware of reasons for the remaining deposits.
Weiner, 28, worked at a Queens, N.Y., office of Merrill Lynch from June 1983 to August 1987 and at Prudential-Bache Securities Inc. from August 1987 to April 1988, the lawsuit states. None of the allegedly fraudulent transactions occurred while Weiner worked at Prudential-Bache.
The lawsuit states that Weiner misappropriated an estimated $503,000 from customer accounts and seeks the full amount to be reimbursed.
According to the complaint, Weiner received individual orders ranging from $3,000 to $120,000 for basic brokerage accounts that included a choice of money funds and a checking account and bank card.
The SEC charged that Weiner simply did not open accounts for customers who gave him money and deposited checks into his own or other accounts. In some cases, he allegedly debited customer margin accounts to account for transactions.
Merrill Lynch spokesman Fred Yager said the firm discovered discrepancies in Weiner’s accounts after he left the firm and reported them to the SEC, criminal agencies and Prudential-Bache. Yager said all Merrill Lynch clients were reimbursed for losses.
A telephone message left for a Marc Weiner in Brooklyn was not immediately returned.
The SEC names the allegedly defrauded clients as well as the alleged recipients of their money, including those Weiner allegedly paid off gambling debts.