Federal lawsuit filed against former Altoona-based financial analyst
ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) – Former Altoona-based financial analyst Michael Shillin faces federal civil charges for actions his former clients say robbed them of their financial futures and, in some cases, their health .
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed its case in the Western District of Wisconsin on Thursday, September 23.
In the case, investigators claim that Shillin, while acting as a financial advisor, fabricated documents and lied to clients about the true value of their investments. In addition to claiming to have defrauded clients by taking money to make nonexistent investments, he also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions for work he claimed to do on behalf of his clients.
SEC claims accuse Shillin of defrauding at least 100 clients, many of whom are described as elderly. According to the Department of Justice, “senior” refers to a person aged 60 or over. There are three counts listed in their record: Violations of Section 17 (a) of the Securities Act; Violations of section 10 (b) of the Exchange Act and rule 10b-5 of the Exchange Act; and Violations of the Counselors Act, Articles 206 (1) and 206 (2).
Some of the results of Shillin’s failure as a financial analyst and insurance agent are described in the SEC complaint: “During the sale of a life insurance policy, his [Shillin’s] client, it contained a long-term care benefit. The client, who now has stage IV cancer, did not learn that there was no such policy or benefit until after his diagnosis. For one of Shillin’s investment clients, the SEC says the reality of Shillin’s betrayal only came after he made the decision to retire early – after Shillin claimed that the man was “$ 450,000 richer.” Shillin had explained that the money was the profit from Shillin’s purchase of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. or “SpaceX” shares for the client. It was only later that the investor learned the truth: the SpaceX stock and the resulting nest egg were the product of Shillin’s deception. “
The file continues, “These are just two examples of Shillin’s myriad lies and the suffering they caused to so many of his clients. Shillin went to great lengths to deceive his clients. He even set up an online portal for his clients to monitor their portfolio of stocks and earnings – much of which, as we now know, was fictitious. “
Investigators say Shillin started cheating on clients in 2014 while working for another financial advisory firm. One of the deceptive actions came in 2018 when Shillin was fired from the firm and, according to the file, “He falsely told clients that his departure was voluntary. Many clients would have fired him if they had known the truth and therefore refused to continue paying him consulting fees. “
If convicted of the SEC charges, Shillin faces exclusion from certain securities-related positions; reimburse customers who are accused of defrauding and / or liable to civil penalties.
Public records show that Shillin Wealth Management received a paycheck protection loan in the amount of $ 331,800 in April 2020. In the loan application, the company claimed to employ 14 people. The funds were to be distributed in three ways: $ 265,488 for payroll; $ 29,912 for utilities and $ 36,400 for rent. These records show that Michael Shillin received a paycheck protection loan of $ 20,833 in April 2020 for his work as an independent contractor. The records do not show the loan as canceled or repaid.
WEAU contacted Michael Shillin; he has not yet responded to our request.
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