The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the head of aDetroit-based investment advisor of stealing nearly $3.1 millionfrom the pension fund that the firm manages for the city’s policeand firefighters so he could buy two strip malls in California.

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Four other top officials at the firm were also charged withhelping him to cover up the theft.

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The SEC alleges that Chauncey Mayfield, the founder, presidentand CEO of MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors, took the money from thePolice and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit withoutobtaining permission. When other executives at the firmbecame aware of what he had done, they devised a plan to secretlyrepay the pension fund by cutting costs at the firm and selling thestrip malls.

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The plan failed because MayfieldGentry couldn’t raise enoughmoney to put the money back into the pension fund.

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Mayfield and his firm have agreed to repay the money.

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The theft took place in 2008 but wasn’t discovered until 2011.MayfieldGentry and its executives didn’t tell the pension plan whatit had done until the evening before the SEC filed a complaintagainst them in May 2012 for their participation in a pay-to-playscheme involving the former mayor and treasurer of Detroit. Thepension fund terminated its relationship with MayfieldGentry uponlearning of the theft.

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