Binary options fraudster posing as SEC employee gets indicted in Boston

Maria Nikolova

Frank Gregory Cedeno was indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A heavy prison sentence looms for Frank Gregory Cedeno, one of the participants in a fraudulent scheme involving fake pledges for binary options trading compensations and impersonation of employees of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Cedeno was indicted on Wednesday in a federal court in Boston for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In January 2018, Cedeno was charged by criminal complaint and arrested.

The indictment alleges that, from at least April 2016 through November 2017, Cedeno conspired with others to defraud victims by pretending to be employees of the SEC. Under that guise, members of the conspiracy allegedly demanded money from victims, most often – victims of binary options brokers and Banc de Binary, in particular. The victims were directed to send the money to members of the conspiracy, including Cedeno. The conspirators who received the money generally withdrew it from bank accounts quickly, then forwarded much of it to individuals in the Dominican Republic.

In one common version of the scam, victims received e-mails that used official-seeming documentation and the SEC seal to support a false claim that the targeted investor must pay a fee in order to receive a portion of the settlement of the SEC’s lawsuit against Banc de Binary.

Co-conspirator Leonel Alexis Valerio Santana was previous charged by criminal complaint in connection with the scheme and remains detained pending trial. That complaint alleged that, between June 2015 and June 2017, there were at least 95 victims targeted by the scam, with fraudulent solicitations exceeding $1.3 million and actual losses exceeding.

The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a sentence no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss in the offense, and restitution. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

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