The pedigree of Mark Emerson Spangler, a Boston-based investment adviser, was impressive.
He told his firm's approximately 150 clients that he held a bachelor of arts degree from Boston University and an MBA from the Wharton School. He wrote a prospective client last December that he also was an alumnus of Harvard College and had worked for Morgan Guaranty Bank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust before founding The Spangler Group Inc.
In fact, Spangler made up the entire resume, according to a complaint announced yesterday by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Spangler studied art history at Boston University, but did not graduate. He did not attend the other institutions or work for either of the two banks.
The SEC said Spangler also claimed that his firm had achieved annual rates of return as high as 86 percent on clients' accounts, although the rates were not based on actual securities transactions, but were hypothetical results from a model stock portfolio.
On Friday, a federal district judge in Boston issued a temporary restraining order at the SEC's request that bars Spangler and his firm from further control over its clients' accounts.
Spangler is directed to surrender all rights over clients' funds to the SEC today, and a court hearing on a permanent injunction against Spangler and his firm is scheduled for Wednesday.
The SEC complaint says that Spangler's firm is managing some $25 million in clients' funds and has been given discretionary authority to sell and reinvest clients' funds. SEC attorneys said in a court affidavit that the SEC "does not know whether [the] defendants have yet misappropriated client assets," but it asked that the temporary restraining order be granted without advance warning to Spangler to guard against misappropriation.