U.S. Justice Department sentences crypto fraudster to 15 years in prison

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, a Swedish cryptocurrency fraudster, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The 47-year old defrauded thousands of victims and was able to take more or less $16 million. He was arrested in Thailand in June 2019 and he pleaded guilty on March 4.

According to the DOJ, Karlsson was sentenced due to “securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges that defrauded thousands of victims of more than $16 million.”

The scam

Court documents revealed that Karlsson operated an investment fraud from 2011 until his arrest, holding shares in the scheme called “Eastern Metal Securities.” He used cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and other online payment platforms, promising his victims of “astronomical returns” that were tied to the price of gold.

But the suspect transferred the funds of his victims to his personal bank accounts and used them to purchase expensive homes, a racehorse and a resort in Thailand. The DOJ said, “Karlsson’s fraud targeted financially insecure investors, causing severe financial hardship for many of them.”

To keep his fraudulent scheme running, the Swedish man used several strategies including rebranding and falsely claiming to be working with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The sentence

Aside from spending the next 15 years in a U.S. prison, Karlsson, as part of the sentence, was also ordered to forfeit a Thai resort and various other properties and accounts and “issued a money judgment in the amount of $16,263,820.”

Furthermore, the DOJ said the U.S. government will also be seeking restitution on behalf of the victims, saying an appropriate order is expected to be entered by the court within 90 days.


Image courtesy of Cointelegraph News/YouTube

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