Mark MacArthur, son of John MacArthur and board member of MacArthur’s Grace to You ministry, has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission of engaging in a scheme to defraud clients over a three year period from 2014 to 2017. According to the complaint, MacArthur and his partner, Robert Gravette, failed to disclose a costly conflict of interest:
Defendants Criterion Wealth Management Insurance Services, Inc. (“Criterion”), Gravette, and MacArthur were investment advisers. They owed their clients – who entrusted them with the discretionary management of their money – a fiduciary duty to act with loyalty, fairness, and good faith. This civil enforcement action arises from defendants’ breach of their fiduciary duty when failing to disclose a glaring conflict of their financial interests with those of their clients. From the spring 2014 through the summer 2017, defendants recommended that their advisory clients invest more than $16 million in four private placement funds, without disclosing that the fund managers for these investments had paid them more than $1 million in side compensation – income on top of the fees that defendants were already charging their clients directly.
For two of the private placement funds, the undisclosed compensation that defendants received reduced the investment returns that defendants’ advisory clients would have otherwise received. Defendants kept their clients in the dark as to all these material facts and, in doing so, they violated their fiduciary duty and defrauded their advisory clients.
According to the complaint, MacArthur and Gravette (both The Master’s University graduates) worked with another TMU graduate at a separate company to construct a scheme which allowed Criterion to pocket fees which should have gone to Criterion’s clients. The SEC claims MacArthur and Gravette failed to disclose the terms of investing to clients which put those clients at a disadvantage and depressed their investment returns.
It is not stated in the complaint which clients received the lower returns or if any of the entities controlled by the MacArthurs were involved as investment clients.