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Douglas E. Cowgill Pleads Guilty to Fraud

An Ohio registered investment adviser, Douglas Cowgill, recently pleaded guilty to defrauding his clients.

Back in May 2014, Meyer Wilson reported on the Ohio registered investment adviser who had been accused of issuing false account statements to customers. The adviser, Douglas E. Cowgill, pleaded guilty on November 12, 2015 to charges of wire fraud, theft, and perjury.

Cowgill was the owner and president of Professional Investment Management (PIM), a Columbus-based company, from July 2013 through August 2014. During this time, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cowgill used his position of authority at PIM to defraud his clients. Even before he became president and sole owner, as far back as March 2008, Cowgill had allegedly begun misappropriating customer money.

According to allegations, Cowgill transferred his customer’s money into an account he could access by manipulating PIM’s software. Cowgill allegedly used that misappropriated money for his own expenses. At least 125 investors suffered financially because of Cowgill’s alleged misconduct.

Cowgill pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to embezzling money from his clients’ retirement plans, each of which was a pension plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. In January 2014, while the SEC was still investigating Cowgill’s alleged violations of federal securities laws, Cowgill reportedly lied under oath, failing to disclose five of his bank accounts. The SEC contended that this conduct was an overt attempt to conceal his misconduct involving client funds.

Cowgill is currently awaiting sentencing, where he could receive up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and an additional five years in prison for his other charges.

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