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April 14, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Doug Dunbar

 

State Officials Announce Sentencing in Case of Securities Fraud, Forgery and Other Crimes

 

Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw and Attorney General Janet Mills announced that Thomas E. Skypeck of Old Orchard Beach was sentenced Tuesday in York County Superior Court. He pleaded guilty last October to Securities Fraud, Forgery, Theft by Unauthorized Taking or Transfer, and Misuse of Entrusted Property, in relation to his handling of a Maine clients insurance and investment accounts.

The sentence calls for three years of incarceration, with all but 90 days suspended. Mr. Skypeck was also sentenced to serve two years of probation. Conditions of probation include no contact with the victim. Additionally, Mr. Skypeck must pay restitution of more than $5,000. The case was investigated by Cathy Williams in the Maine Office of Securities.

Mr. Skypeck began working with the client in 2009 in his capacity as a Maine-licensed broker-dealer agent and insurance producer, and he advised the client regarding her retirement investments, held mostly in annuities. Mr. Skypeck provided misleading information to the client about her annuity contracts in an effort to get her to exchange old policies for new ones. The client relied on Mr. Skypecks recommendations, which resulted in the client incurring unnecessary penalties and restricted her access to her money. With each new purchase, Mr. Skypeck earned a commission.

Mr. Skypeck also instructed the client to withdraw almost $60,000 from one of her annuities and then used the majority of this money to purchase gold and silver coins. The client later sold these coins and, at Mr. Skypecks recommendation, used the proceeds to make a purchase of almost $68,000 from another precious metal dealer. Mr. Skypeck completed the transaction for the second purchase using his wifes name and forged his wifes signature on the relevant documentation. He received a commission for the coin sales, as well, and the client incurred a penalty for the withdrawal of the funds.

After having the coins delivered to the clients home, Mr. Skypeck took one box of coins, claiming that he would have them stored securely at a depository. When the client repeatedly inquired about the status of her coins over several months, he gave a variety of excuses as to why they were unavailable, including that he had stored them at his lake house which was inaccessible due to winter weather. Mr. Skypeck later admitted that the coins were stored in his basement and that he had sold over $5,000 worth of the coins to cover personal expenses.

The case came to the attention of regulators when the client contacted the Maine Office of Securities with concerns about how her accounts had been managed. The Office of Securities, while conducting its investigation into the criminal charges, brought the case to the attention of the Maine Bureau of Insurance. Mr. Skypeck is no longer licensed with the Office of Securities as a broker-dealer agent and, in a consent agreement executed in June with the Bureau of Insurance, he agreed to the revocation of his insurance license. The Bureau worked with the companies that issued the clients annuities to recover $9,820 in early surrender charges on her behalf. Mr. Skypeck also agreed to pay a $1,000 civil penalty, as part of the consent agreement, which has since been paid to Ms. Conley in the form of restitution.

It is critical for investors to be able to rely upon their financial professionals with whom they entrust their hard earned money, Administrator Shaw said. Individuals like Mr. Skypeck, who take advantage of those trusted relationships, must be held accountable.

We are pleased to bring Mr. Skypeck to justice and obtain restitution, said Attorney General Mills. The criminal case was prosecuted by former Assistant Attorney General Carrie Carney, and the sentencing was handled by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese.

Administrator Shaw urged anyone who has concerns about how their investments are being handled to contact the Office of Securities. Information about advisers, salespersons or investing is available at www.investors.maine.gov, by calling 1-877-624-8551 or writing to the Maine Office of Securities, 121 SHS, Augusta, Maine 04333-0121.

The Office of Securities and Bureau of Insurance are part of Maines Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (www.maine.gov/pfr)

Last Updated: April 5, 2019 1:05 PM