Former Altoona Investment Advisor now facing civil lawsuit

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 7:35 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - He was trusted to manage retirement accounts and insurance policies, now some of his clients say he lied, and ripped them off. The complaints against Michael Shillin are growing and now include a lawsuit. WEAU’s Bob Gallaher breaks down the suit, and what Michael Shillin’s new employer thinks about the claims.

This is the 24-game complaint filed against Michael Francis Shillin, Shillin Wealth Management and a series of unknown entities. In it, a former employee says the defunct Altoona-based business owes him more than half a million dollars.

“It’s the sifting and winnowing of the facts, the search for the truth and the next step will be we’ll try to resolve it on a reasonable level,

Peter Culp, an attorney out of Neenah is representing Mark Lutzke. Culp believes Shillin Wealth Management owes his client more than $69,000 for work performed during 2019 and 2020. An additional $71,000 in commissions. Lutzke also says he’s owed $350,000 in returns on investments Shillin claimed to make on Lutzke’s behalf.

Culp says, “There were also representation from Mr. Shillin that he had purchased Space-X Founders stock for the benefit of my client and through text messaging, and had indicated on two different time periods that there were various profits that were earned as a result of those transactions.

Those time periods are represented in the lawsuit via screenshots of text messages: the first from January 2020, Shillin writes, “I was able to get you shares of Space X today. Made you guys 120K.”

Six months later, Shillin reaches out again claiming, “Space-X priced at 811.” Lutzke replies questioning what that means-- Shillin’s response: “You made about 353K.”

Three of the seven customer disputes made against Shillin are based on issues involving Space-X Founders shares. The most recent claim was filed in December, that’s also when.

Culp says, “FINRA barred him from working in any investment advisory firm in any capacity.”

However, at the same time, Shillin was signing on as the Chief Operating Officer for The Greenway Fund-- based out of Minnesota. WEAU reached out to Greenway, the person we spoke with claimed not to know about FINRA’s decision or the mounting investigations into Shillin. A few hours later the president of The Greenway Fund, Ben Larson, sent a statement that reads in part: “Mike will no longer be able to be an officer or director with our firm until he is exonerated. The dollar amounts in question all seem to be very low in light of the hundreds of millions of dollars that he had under his control. We suspect that if Mike had any criminal intent he would have made off with millions.”

We attempted to reach Michael Shillin by phone and went to his last known address in Eau Claire. But were unsuccessful in getting comment.

Attorney Culp says the trail of allegations against Shillin and customer disputes shows an alarming trend of dishonest behavior.

Culp says, “Those who are in control of money that is owned by another is someone who has a heightened duty and standard of care to make sure that you act in a very honest manner in all respects.

In addition to the financial damages in the lawsuit, Lutzke claims Shillin offered to do some estate planning work in 2019, but when Lutzke asked for documentation Shillin’s assistant told him the paperwork was never filed. Culp says Shillin has 45 days to respond to the suit.

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