Stockbroker Sentenced to 105 Months in Scheme to Defraud Clients of Over $2.6 Million
Stole Retirement Funds from at Least 18 Victims, Including Family Members and Elderly Individuals
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Gary Clark Steciuk, age 39, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois and Heber Springs, Arkansas, today to 105 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for mail fraud in connection with a six year scheme to defraud his clients of their retirement funds. Judge Hollander also entered an order that Steciuk pay restitution of $2,386,025.07, the amount stolen from at least 18 victims.
The sentence 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.
Steciuk was a stockbroker who worked primarily out of his home in Buffalo Grove. Steciuk was authorized to sell stocks, bonds, options, 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.
According to his plea agreement, from May 2008 to August 2014, Steciuk embezzled funds from his clients’ investment accounts. These accounts were 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 at the firm that issued the annuities to change his clients’ address 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 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.
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 prosecuted the case.