Head of FX Ponzi scheme who defrauded investors of $1.1m gets indicted

Maria Nikolova

Thomas Lanzana, operator of schemes like Unique Forex, was charged by indictment with two counts of wire fraud and one count of commodities fraud.

Thomas Lanzana of South Carolina was indicted on Tuesday on charges that he defrauded at least 20 people by soliciting investments in a bogus FX trading scheme, Attorney for the United States Rachael Honig announced.

Lanzana was charged by indictment with two counts of wire fraud and one count of commodities fraud. He was previously charged with the same offenses by criminal complaint on Aug. 10, 2018.

According to the Court documents, from at least 2013, Lanzana solicited approximately $1.1 million from at least 45 customers to invest in what he claimed were highly successful, algorithm-based trading pools in Forex and other financial instruments. He misrepresented to prospective customers that he was a successful forex trader when he was not. To keep his customers’ trust, Lanzana sent them false account statements, posted false monthly account statements to his companies’ websites showing balances – some in excess of $800,000 – for FX trading accounts that did not exist, and sent false tax documents to customers reporting earnings that did not exist.

Lanzana misappropriated at least $350,000 in customer funds, using some to repay earlier investors in the manner of a Ponzi scheme, and to pay for his lavish lifestyle.

The counts of wire fraud with which Lanzana is charged carry a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. The count of commodities fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss.

As FinanceFeeds has reported, Lanzana was arrested in December 2018 in Park City, Kansas.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has also launched a case against the fraudster. In March this year, the case brought by CFTC against Thomas Lanzana, individually and d/b/a Unique Forex, Nikolay Masanko, Blackbox Pulse, LLC, and White Cloud Mountain, LLC, concluded at the New Jersey District Court. Lanzana, Masanko, Blackbox Pulse and White Cloud Mountain were ordered to pay $762,807.24, in restitution and/or disgorgement of profits. The defendants were also ordered to pay a civil monetary penalty in the amount of $1,950,000.

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