Alleged cryptocurrency fraudster Roger Karlsson faces prison sentence over $11m scam

Maria Nikolova

Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson was arrested in Thailand earlier this week, with the US authorities seeking his extradition.

US authorities continue to actively prosecute fraudulent activities related with cryptocurrencies. On Wednesday, June 19, 2019, United States Attorney David L. Anderson announced the arrest of Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, a citizen of Sweden.

Karlsson was arrested in Thailand, with the US authorities now seeking his extradition to stand trial in the Northern District of California.

Karlsson and his company, Eastern Metal Securities (EMS), are charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The defendants allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud victims of more than $11 million.

According to the complaint, since September 2006, Karlsson used websites to communicate false representations to victims in a scheme to defraud potential investors. For example, www.easternmetalsecurities.com advertised shares in a product called a “Pre Funded Reversed Pension Plan” (PFRPP). The website invited potential investors to purchase shares of the plan for $98 per share in exchange for an eventual payout of 1.15 kilograms of gold per share, even though as of January 2, 2019, 1.15 kilograms of gold was worth more than $45,000. Karlsson also allegedly advised investors that, in the unlikely event that the gold payout did not happen, he guaranteed to them 97% of the amount they invested. According to the complaint, the government found no evidence of any accounts held by Karlsson that would allow him to pay off the investors. Instead, the funds provided by victims were transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts and now appear to be tied up in real estate in Thailand.

The complaint further describes how Karlsson used another website, www.hci25.com to bring the investors in HCI25 together with the investors in the PFRPP and posted multiple communications to delay the moment investors would realize there would be no payout. Karlsson also falsely represented that EMS was working with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to prepare the way for a payout.

The complaint alleges Karlsson directed his victims to make investments using virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin. Karlsson allegedly defrauded no less than 3,575 victims.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine for the wire fraud and securities fraud charges, and 20 years in prison and a $500,000 maximum fine for the money laundering charge.

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