ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – A Rochester Hills man who pleaded guilty to stealing money from his investment clients will spend the next nine years in prison.
John MacColl is accused of tricking clients into giving him their retirement savings and spending the money himself.
He was inside the federal courthouse in Downtown Detroit for the final time this week with victims, friends and others in attendance. Few expected him to get nearly a decade in prison.
"I was surprised," said attorney Daniel S. Hoops, who is friends with one of the investment fraud victims. "(It was a) really bad thing that this man did."
The scheme started at a UBS location in Birmingham. Federal prosecutors said MacColl was a financial adviser at UBS and devised a plan to steal money from clients.
From 2010 to 2018, MacColl convinced clients to send money to his personal account for investment options not available through UBS, officials said.
When clients asked for documentation, MacColl allegedly made fake statements.
There are at least a dozen victims who lost a combined $3.7 million, officials said.
"These are people he knew for 20 to 30 years," Hoops said. "He groomed them, had them pull their retirement savings and then he walked away with it."
MacColl pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced to nine years behind bars.
"The judge hit him over the head," MacColl said.
UBS has reimbursed the victims, but it's unclear what tax implications will come from the early withdrawals.