Federal lawsuit filed against Altoona-based former financial analyst

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) – Altoona-based former financial analyst Michael Shillin faces federal civil charges for actions his former clients say stole from their financial futures and, in some cases, their health.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed its case in the Western District of Wisconsin on Thursday, September 23.

In the filing, investigators say Shillin, while acting as a financial adviser, fabricated documents and lied to clients about the true value of their investments. In addition to allegations of defrauding clients by taking money to make non-existent investments, he also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions for the work he claimed to do on behalf of his clients.

The SEC allegations accuse Shillin of defrauding at least 100 clients, many of whom are described as elderly. According to the Department of Justice, “senior” refers to a person who is 60 years of age or older. Three counts are in their case: Violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act; Violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 of the Exchange Act; and Violations of Advisers Act Sections 206(1) and 206(2).

Some of the results of Shillin’s failure as a financial analyst and insurance agent are described in the SEC complaint: “During the sale of a life insurance policy, told his [Shillin’s] client, it contained a long-term care benefit. The client, who now has stage IV cancer, only learned that there was no such policy or benefit after his diagnosis. For one of Shillin’s investment clients, the SEC says the reality of Shillin’s betrayal only came after he made the decision to retire early – after Shillin claimed that the man was “$450,000 richer.” Shillin had explained that the money was profits from Shillin’s purchase of shares of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. or “SpaceX” for the customer. It wasn’t until later that the investor learned the truth: SpaceX stock and the resulting nest egg were the result of Shillin’s deception. »

The filing continues: “These are just two examples of Shillin’s myriad lies and the pain they have caused so many of his clients. Shillin went to great lengths to deceive his customers. He even set up an online portal for his clients to monitor their portfolio of stocks and earnings – much of which, as we now know, was fictitious.

Investigators say Shillin began cheating clients in 2014 when he worked for another financial consultancy firm. One of the deceptive actions took place in 2018 when Shillin was terminated from the company and according to the filing, “He falsely told clients that his departure was voluntary. Many clients would have fired him had they known the truth and would therefore have refused to continue paying him consulting fees.

If found guilty of the charges brought by the SEC, Shillin could be barred from certain securities positions; reimburse customers it is accused of defrauding and/or expose itself to civil penalties.

Public records show Shillin Wealth Management received a $331,800 paycheck protection loan in April 2020. In the loan application, the company claimed to have employed 14 people. The funds were to be distributed in three ways: $265,488 for payroll; $29,912 for utilities and $36,400 for rent. These records show Michael Shillin received a $20,833 Paycheck Protection Loan in April 2020 for his work as an independent contractor. The records do not show either of the loans as canceled or repaid.

WEAU contacted Michael Shillin; he has not yet responded to our request.

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