Chevy Chase Man Facing Federal Indictment for Allegedly Posing as an Investment Advisor to Steal $750,0000 From a Non-Profit Organization Providing Services to Combat and Wounded Military Veterans

Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Brian McQuade, age 70, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, for the federal charges of wire fraud related to a scheme to steal $750,000 from a non-profit organization providing services to military veterans.  The indictment was returned on September 2, 2021 and unsealed today upon McQuade’s arrest.  McQuade had an initial appearance scheduled today at 1:30 p.m., in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to the two-count indictment, from June 2018 until August 2021, McQuade perpetrated a fraud scheme to obtain money from a non-profit organization that provided services to combat and military veterans (the “Foundation”).  During that time, McQuade allegedly held himself out as an investment advisor to clients, including the Foundation, falsely telling clients that he would manage investment accounts on their behalf.   Instead, McQuade allegedly misappropriated the funds provided by clients, including the Foundation, for his personal use.

The indictment alleges that McQuade represented to the Foundation and its principals that he was worked as an investment advisor through an entity called Columbia Financial Advisors, LLP (“Columbia Financial”), which McQuade represented was the investment advisory arm affiliated with an established DC accounting firm.  In reality, the Indictment alleges, McQuade had not been formally affiliated with the accounting firm since at least 2015.  McQuade also represented to the Foundation that he was a licensed, registered investment advisor, including on an “Investment Advisory Agreement” he provided to the Foundation before the Foundation made its investment.  McQuade allegedly told the Foundation that he would place the Foundation’s funds in a brokerage account that he would manage on behalf of the Foundation and McQuade provided the Foundation with a completed brokerage account application. 

Based on McQuade’s representations, the Foundation wired McQuade $750,000 to invest on the Foundation’s behalf.   According to the indictment, McQuade never opened a brokerage account on behalf of the Foundation and, instead, McQuade misappropriated the Foundation’s funds for his personal benefit, including transferring the funds to personal accounts and spending the money on restaurants, country club dues, luxury car payments, mortgages, and other personal items.  To conceal his misappropriation of the Foundation’s funds, McQuade allegedly continued to make misrepresentations to the Foundation about their investment—even providing a fabricated account statement, to create the false appearance that the Foundation’s funds were held in an investment account for the benefit of the Foundation.  To date, despite repeated requests, the Foundation has been unable to recover any of its funds. 

If convicted, McQuade faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each of two counts of wire fraud.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the FBI for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Caitlin R. Cottingham and Jessica C. Collins, who are prosecuting the federal case.

The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI are continuing to investigate this matter.  If you believe that you may have been a victim of or have information about McQuade or any other investment fraud scheme, please contact the FBI, Baltimore Field Office at 1-800-CALL-FBI. 

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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