Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury indicted Gary Clark Steciuk, age 39, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois and Heber Springs, Arkansas, today on charges of mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering, related to a scheme to defraud his clients of more than $1 million.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the five count indictment Steciuk was a stockbroker, who worked primarily out of his home in Buffalo Grove. Steciuk was authorized to sell securities, such as stocks, bonds, option, mutual funds and variable annuities. In approximately 2009, Steciuk established a business, College Funding Solutions, ostensibly to provide investment advice to clients interested in investing and saving for college expenses, and opened a business bank account in the name of the business.
The indictment alleges that from January 2008 through August 2014, Steciuk embezzled funds from his clients’ investment accounts. These accounts were established and funded with client retirement funds and were maintained by the issuers of the annuities. The indictment alleges that Steciuk used a variety of methods to embezzle the funds. For example, Steciuk allegedly submitted forged forms to change his clients’ address at the firm that issued the annuities to a post office box in Hampstead, Maryland, that Steciuk controlled, then directed the firm to send funds from his clients’ accounts by check to the post office box. Steciuk then allegedly forged the clients’ signatures on the back of the check, which were in the clients’ names, and deposited the checks into bank accounts he controlled. In addition, the indictment alleges that: Steciuk created fraudulent and unauthorized loans from the clients’ annuities for his benefit; used forged transfer forms and forged checks to make unauthorized withdrawals; and liquidated the annuities in their entirety and stole the proceeds.
The total loss resulting from the fraudulent scheme is alleged to be at least $1,064,501, and the indictment seeks forfeiture of that amount, as well as property in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Westminster, Maryland and Maui, Hawaii.
Steciuk faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for mail fraud, each of three counts of securities fraud and for money. An initial appearance is scheduled for October 10, 2014, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Steciuk is detained.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Bockin, who is prosecuting the case.