CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Merrill Lynch financial advisor was sentenced to 3 1⁄2 years in prison on Thursday, after pleading guilty earlier this year to swindling more than $3 million from his clients, including one of the men wrongfully convicted of rape and murder in the infamous “Dixmoor 5” case.

Marcus Boggs, 51, told his victims he would help them invest their money in securities, but instead spent more than $3 million of their funds to pay off his own debts, including credit card and mortgage payments. Prosecutors said his credit card bills included international vacations, lavish dinners at restaurants, and rent for multiple apartments in Chicago.

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Boggs pleaded guilty to wire fraud in March, and on Thursday was sentenced to 42 months in prison, and ordered to pay restitution of more than $3 million to his victims.

Shainne Sharp, one of the men wrongfully convicted in the “Dixmoor 5” case, got millions as part of a settlement with the Illinois State Police, and hired Boggs to help get his life back, but instead Boggs bilked him out of more than $800,000.

Shainne Sharp

Shainne Sharp (Credit: CBS 2)

On Nov. 19, 1991, Cateresa Matthews, 14, disappeared after leaving her grandmother’s home. Her body was found weeks later in a field near Interstate 57.

She had been raped, and had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the mouth.

Five boys – Sharp, James Harden, Jonathan Barr, Robert Taylor, and Robert Veal – were charged and convicted in Cateresa’s rape and murder. But DNA evidence later cleared the five young men of the charges, and they were exonerated and released.

The men’s convictions were vacated in 2011, after DNA evidence implicated Willie Randolph, a convicted sex offender with no connection to the Dixmoor 5.

In 2014, the men received a federal settlement of $40 million against Illinois State Police. Sharp was awarded $5 million after serving 10 years.

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A new federal complaint said that Sharp expected that money to “sustain him for the rest of his life.”

But after his name was cleared, Sharp became a victim all over again.

Boggs – the man Sharp hired to watch over his finances – is accused of stealing more than $800,000 of Sharp’s settlement money. Boggs was charged in 2019 with a federal criminal complaint accusing him of scheming to defraud clients of millions of dollars to pay his personal expenses.

Marcus Boggs

Marcus Boggs (Credit: Marcus Boggs)


According to the complaint, Boggs met with Sharp periodically to talk about the performance of his investments and provide financial recommendations – and always assured Sharp that his accounts were performing well. Boggs also sometimes socialized with Sharp and Sharp’s spouse, and Sharp described Boggs as being charming, the complaint said.

But suddenly in May 2018, Boggs contacted Sharp to tell him his “investment accounts had been depleted” and were being closed. Boggs claimed that Sharp had spent all the other funds in the accounts himself – and while Sharp did not believe he could have, he trusted Boggs, the complaint said.

But Boggs, a former Merrill Lynch financial adviser and a lavish jet-setter, ended up being flagged by his own company for “suspicious transfers.”

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In all, he is accused of swindling at least four clients out of more than $3 million – and a total of $815,000 from Sharp.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff