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Former Carmel investment advisor faces 25 years in prison in $2.5M fraud case

Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 05, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused a former Carmel, Indiana, investment advisor of defrauding clients out of more than $2.5 million.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, the SEC says from 2012 through March 2015, Thomas J. Buck “executed a fraudulent scheme to obtain excessive commissions and fees” while an employee of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith.

According to the complaint, Buck, 63, now a resident of Orchid, Florida, worked for Merrill Lynch from February 1982 until March 2015, when he was fired by the firm. During the period the alleged fraud occurred, Buck led a team of 13 other individuals known as “The Buck Group.” The group oversaw more than 3,000 accounts and approximately $1.3 billion in assets.

The SEC accuses Buck of false claims and promises and unauthorized transactions in client accounts as a means of generating excessive commissions from at least 50 customers. In all, the SEC claims Buck received more than $2.5 million in excessive commissions through the scheme.

The SEC is asking a court to permanently bar Buck from working as an investment advisor, and to order him to repay the commissions it says he fraudulently obtained. According to the Department of Justice, Buck has agreed to settle with the SEC and pay approximately $5 million in restitution.

In addition to the SEC complaint, Buck was also criminally charged Tuesday and has agreed to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Buck could face up to 25 years in prison in the case.

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