Stockbroker Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud In Scheme To Defraud Clients Of More Than $2.6 Million
Baltimore, Maryland – Gary Clark Steciuk, age 39, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois and Heber Springs, Arkansas, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud his clients of more than $2.6 million.
The guilty plea 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 his plea agreement, 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.
Steciuk admitted that from May 2008 through August 2014, he 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. Steciuk used a variety of methods to embezzle the funds. For example, Steciuk 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. Steciuk then directed the firm to send funds from his clients’ accounts by check to the Maryland post office box. Steciuk 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, 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 in some cases, liquidated the annuities in their entirety and stole the proceeds.
Steciuk used the proceeds of the scheme to support a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing multiple homes for himself and others, as well as to support his extramarital affairs.
There were at least 18 victims of the scheme, including Steciuk’s step-grandmother and mother-in-law, as well as elderly and vulnerable victims. The total loss resulting from the fraudulent scheme is approximately $2,686,025.07. Steciuk’s plea agreement requires him to pay restitution in that amount and to forfeit all money, property, or assets of any kind derived from or acquired as a result of his illegal activities.
Steciuk and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Steciuk will be sentenced to 105 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for March 27, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Steciuk remains detained.
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 and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Bockin, who is prosecuting the case.