A Swedish citizen was arrested in Thailand in connection to an $11 million scam involving gold, real estate and cryptocurrency. According to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson made off with over $11 million from over 3,500 victims. He is charged with wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.
The DoJ alleges that Karlsson and his company, Eastern Metal Securities (EMS) made false representations to investors, luring them to invest in a gold project that never existed.
The suspect allegedly operated a website which advertised shares in a product called “Pre Funded Reversed Pension Plan” (PFRPP). Investors purchased shares in the plan, with each share going for $98. In exchange, they would receive an eventual payout of 1.15 kilograms of gold. This was despite the price of one kilogram of gold at the time standing at over $45,000.
Karlsson further promised his investors that in the unlikely event that they don’t receive their gold, he would refund 97% of their investment. However, the DoJ alleges that upon investigation, it found no bank accounts owned by Karlsson that could allow him to repay the investors as promised. Instead, all the money the investors paid was transferred to his personal bank accounts and invested in real estate in Thailand.
Karlsson also had other websites that all advertised investment products which had a very high return on investment. The DoJ alleges that to prolong the waiting period for the investors, he fed them a series of lies and misdirections. In one instance, he told the investors that the reason he couldn’t pay them all was because releasing such a huge amount of money at once could crash financial systems in many parts of the world. He also told the investors that his company was working with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to come up with a suitable way to distribute the money.
Karlsson urged his investors to make investments using cryptos, the DoJ alleges. He defrauded over $11 million from over 3,570 victims. The U.S. is seeking to have him extradited to stand trial in the Northern District of California.
Just yesterday, the DoJ announced the conviction of a British citizen in connection with a fraudulent crypto venture. The man was convicted of wire fraud for his part in misleading investors about the identity of his company’s founder.
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