Ex-Merrill Lynch adviser who stole from member of Dixmoor 5 gets 3 1⁄2 years for $3M fraud

Before he was sentenced, Marcus Boggs told the judge “I’ve dishonored myself and my reputation” and “what I did was wrong, there is no excuse.”

SHARE Ex-Merrill Lynch adviser who stole from member of Dixmoor 5 gets 3 1⁄2 years for $3M fraud
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Marcus Boggs

Sun-Times file

A member of the so-called Dixmoor 5 told a judge Thursday he doesn’t trust a lot of people after going to prison for a vicious crime for which he would later be exonerated — but he said he trusted Marcus Boggs.

Boggs, once a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch, offered to help Shainne Sharp manage the $5 million settlement Sharp received after he was cleared through DNA evidence of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl.

Then the feds say Boggs stole more than $800,000 of that money from Sharp as part of a 10-year, $3 million scheme that on Thursday landed Boggs a three-and-a-half-year federal prison sentence from U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland. Prosecutors said Boggs spent the money on international travel, expensive dinners and on multiple apartments in Chicago.

Rowland told Boggs he was “just living high —just living way, way, way beyond your means. And that’s just wrong.” The judge also said Boggs’ decision to steal from Sharp “really hurts. Because Mr. Sharp has suffered enough.”

Before he was sentenced, Boggs told the judge “I’ve dishonored myself and my reputation” and “what I did was wrong, there is no excuse.”

“Words can’t express how immensely sorry, remorseful and overcome with shame I am,” Boggs said.

But Sharp told the judge that Boggs “destroyed my life. I gave him every dime that I had. We sat up there —we planned out my whole life, for the rest of my life.” He said Boggs “needs to get what he deserves” and be “prosecuted to the fullest.”

Defense attorneys David S. Weinstein and Kenneth E. Yeadon argued that Boggs stole just 16.3% of Sharp’s settlement and Boggs shouldn’t be held entirely responsible for Sharp’s financial situation. They also noted that Merrill Lynch later compensated Sharp, and its payment “far exceeded” the money Boggs stole.

Boggs pleaded guilty to wire fraud last March, more than a year after federal prosecutors first leveled criminal charges against him in August 2019. A Merrill Lynch spokesman said then that all victims in the case had been compensated.

The spokesman said Boggs worked for the firm from 2006 until 2018, when he was fired. Sharp previously confirmed he was among Boggs’ otherwise unnamed victims but spoke publicly during Boggs’ sentencing hearing Thursday. He spoke along with two other victims who also told the judge about the trust they had placed with Boggs.

The criminal complaint filed against Boggs in 2019 explained how Sharp was awarded the $5 million wrongful conviction settlement and turned to Boggs to manage the money. In a court memo filed last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Mitchell wrote that Boggs’ theft from Sharp stood out as “particularly egregious.”

Mitchell wrote that Boggs “amazingly” stole more than $800,000 from Sharp, knowing that Sharp had received that money “due to his wrongful incarceration for a rape and kidnapping” Sharp had not committed.

Though Sharp had thought the money would last his entire life, he told authorities that Boggs contacted him in May 2018 to tell him the bulk of 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,” prosecutors said.

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 group became known as the Dixmoor 5.

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