A former Merrill Lynch broker is set to serve 38 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud.

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri sentenced Greg J. Campbell on charges that he had siphoned off almost $2 million from client accounts, including that of an 85-year-old client with dementia, for personal use. Campbell was ordered to repay $1.8 million in restitution and forfeit property purchased with client funds.

Campbell’s scheme began in September 2007 while he was a broker working for Merrill Lynch, according to a court filing by the U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis, Mo. He opened and oversaw Loan Management Accounts, which are credit lines collateralized by securities held in customer accounts, under his clients’ names and then used those funds for down payments on a personal residence, mortgage payments, vehicle lease payments and living expenses, the filing said.

He hid the activities by falsifying signatures on letters of authorization, replacing balances at one account with those of another client’s, and sending account statements to unrelated addresses to which only Campbell had access, according to the complaint.

Campbell left Merrill Lynch voluntarily in 2011 to join Four Seasons Wealth Management, an independent practice affiliated with LPL. There, he diverted additional funds from clients’ retirement accounts, the complaint said.

He was at the firm until October 2012 when Merrill Lynch representatives contacted the enforcement section of the Missouri Securities Division “regarding activities in certain customer accounts,” a complaint filed by the Missouri Office of the Secretary of State said.  The firm had been investigating Campbell since September of 2012, according to the complaint.

A Merrill Lynch administrative manager with oversight of Campbell was also terminated in relation to the case, a Merrill Lynch spokesperson confirmed. The firm declined to offer comment.

Campbell’s attorney, Adam D. Fein of Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers & Glass in St. Louis did not return a call for comment.

A call to Four Seasons Wealth Management was referred to LPL. A spokeswoman for LPL was not immediately available for comment.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Campbell signed a FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in March 2013 and was barred from the industry. Missouri also forbade Campbell from applying for registration as a broker-dealer agent or investment advisor in the state of Missouri. 

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