McGinn Smith Alarm Trading accounts sold for $2m

The criminal trial of alarm industry investors Timothy McGinn and David L. Smith also is about to begin, on June 18
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y.—More than 5,000 alarm accounts managed by McGinn Smith Alarm Trading LLC have been auctioned to Security Systems Inc. of Cromwell, Conn. for more than $2 million, legal documents show.

The accounts were auctioned off early this month by the receiver that a court appointed to oversee the assets of Security industry investors Timothy McGinn and David L. Smith—who are battling a civil lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 that contends they bilked investors of at least $80 million in a Ponzi scheme. The pair, the founders of an investment firm based here that conducted dealings in the alarm industry, also were indicted earlier this year on criminal charges that could send them to prison for years, if convicted.

In other news, both McGinn and Smith, who have pleaded not guilty, recently asked a judge to release some of their assets so they can defend themselves in the criminal case. Each man estimates he’ll need $300,000 to pay attorney fees and other costs.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Homer, in an April 4 decision in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York, ruled that only limited amounts of their assets would be available to the pair. The judge said that’s because some assets may be “tainted” as the result of McGinn and Smith’s alleged unlawful activity and need to be preserved to repay investors.

McGinn’s and Smith’s criminal trial is set to begin June 18. They face 30 counts that include mail, wire and securities fraud and filing false tax returns. One count, which alleges conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. The government also seeks $8 million in forfeiture for the alleged offenses.

Homer on April 4 also approved the sale of the 5,061 alarm system monitoring accounts in 40 states to Security Systems Inc. of Cromwell, Conn. for $2.25 million, which the court said was the highest bid at an April 3 auction of the accounts. The account sale is slated to be finalized in about two weeks, David Roman, owner and president of Security Systems Inc. and also of Safe Home Security, also located in Cromwell, Conn., told Security Systems News on April 24.

Roman said that he plans to keep most of the accounts in house but added, “we may sell some if they’re not in our footprint.” His company does business on the East and West coasts and in some Midwest states, but Roman said he hasn’t really examined where all the newly purchased accounts are located.

Roman said he was comfortable with the account portfolio because “we bought previous portfolios from the trustee, so we have some history of the accounts.”

According to court records, McGinn, 63, is living in Boca Raton, Fla. and earning $2,800 monthly working as a sales rep and collecting $1,876 in Social Security. His wife receives $375 per month in unemployment benefits. The judge granted McGinn permission to sell such assets as nine Oriental rugs worth $64,000 and golf club memberships, one worth $10,000 and one worth $25,000, to raise money for his defense. He also can sell his $495,000 Boca Raton home, but only has about $40,000 equity in it, court papers show.

The judge said Smith, 66, and his family own assets exceeding $7 million, but most are frozen as the result of the pending litigation. The judge allowed Smith to use $181,000 in his 401(k) account and just over $8,000 in his IRA account for his defense.