A member of the so-called Dixmoor 5 who landed $5 million in a wrongful conviction settlement said he “hit rock bottom” last year after being told the money he thought would sustain him for life was all gone.
But Shainne Sharp turned out to be the victim of a financial scam that has now led to federal charges against Marcus E. Boggs, 49, a former Merrill Lynch financial adviser accused of stealing more than $3 million from multiple clients, including Sharp.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole ordered Boggs held in custody Monday. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Mitchell said Boggs had been arrested Thursday while trying to board a flight to Germany on a one-way ticket.
However, Mitchell conceded that would have been Boggs’ third trip to Germany this month— and not his first time leaving on a one-way ticket. Boggs is a jet-setter, records show, vacationing in luxury hotels in Europe, South America, Canada and the Caribbean. He managed more than $40 million in assets for more than 70 clients, according to court documents.
Now, Merrill Lynch has paid out more than $5 million to victims of Boggs’ alleged scam, records show. Bill Halldin, a spokesman for the firm, told the Chicago Sun-Times all victims have been compensated. He said Boggs worked for Merrill Lynch from 2006 to 2018, when he was fired.
“We promptly notified the appropriate authorities and have cooperated with their investigations,” he said.
Mitchell told the judge Monday that Boggs’ scam netted more than $3 million that has largely been used to pay down American Express bills and mortgages. But the criminal complaint filed against him accuses him of stealing more than $2 million from four clients. It said a new set of internal controls at Merrill Lynch uncovered the alleged fraud.
Among the victims is Sharp, who is identified in the 16-page document as “Victim A.”
Sharp confirmed his identity to the Sun-Times but declined to comment further.
The complaint explains how Sharp was awarded his $5 million settlement in 2014 and turned to Boggs to manage the money.
Sharp thought the money would last his entire life, but he told authorities Boggs contacted him in May 2018 to tell him the money was gone and his accounts would be closed. Though Sharp didn’t think he had spent the entire settlement, he said he trusted Boggs and believed him. That’s when he said he “hit rock bottom,” according to the complaint.
The document indicates Boggs used $815,000 of Sharp’s money to cover American Express expenses for Boggs and one of his relatives.
A lawsuit brought by Sharp, Robert Taylor, Jonathan Barr, James Harden and Robert Veal alleged that Illinois State Police teamed up with Dixmoor cops to frame the men — who were then teenagers — for the 1991 rape and murder of 14-year-old Cateresa Matthews.
The girl disappeared after leaving her grandmother’s Dixmoor home on Nov. 19, 1991, heading home. Her body was found three weeks later in a field near Interstate 57, dead from a single gunshot to the mouth.
Unsolved for nearly a year, the case made headlines when authorities arrested the five teens, ages 14 to 16, in the fall of 1992. Prosecutors at the time said three of the teens confessed and implicated the others. But the lawsuit, filed in 2012, claimed officers coerced the confessions even though the suburb and state police knew semen collected from Cateresa’s body excluded them.
Eventually, that DNA evidence exonerated the men.