Operator of Black Diamond Forex and Advanta FX gets arrested, faces max sentence of 580 years in prison

Maria Nikolova

Michael Salerno was charged with 23 counts of wire fraud and 6 counts of mail fraud in connection with multiple, elaborate fraud schemes.

First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced on Friday that Michael Salerno was arrested and charged by Indictment with twenty-three counts of wire fraud and six counts of mail fraud in connection with multiple, elaborate fraud schemes.

According to the Indictment, between September 2016 and at least November 2018, Salerno operated a several businesses, including Black Diamond Forex, L.P., BDF Trading, L.P., Advanta Capital Markets, Inc., and Advanta FX, each of which claimed to be in the business of trading Forex.

Salerno induced victims to pay advance fees – up-front payments of typically more than $1,000 – in order to be hired by Salerno’s company. He told the victims that, upon being hired, he would make available to them a pool of $10 million which they could trade on the Forex market, and take a generous cut of any profits. Each of these representations was completely false.

According to the Indictment, the defendant claimed to have managed a real estate empire, a portion of which he claimed to have recently sold for $10 million to fund the currency-trading venture. He also claimed that he had been a profitable currency trader. None of this was true, either. In fact, he declared bankruptcy twice, most recently in 2015, and had been evicted multiple times from rental homes for failure to pay rent. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to federal tax charges and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. He failed to disclose any of this to the aforementioned victims before taking their money.

Instead, Salerno allegedly collected more than $300,000 in advance fees and used the money for his own benefit.

The defendant’s currency-trading scheme came to a halt when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sought and obtained an injunction against Salerno and his businesses in 2018. However, he allegedly turned immediately to a second scheme. Between May 2018 and least December 2019, Salerno operated a company called AccuOne Financial, Inc.

AccuOne purported to be in the business of assisting clients in ridding themselves of unwanted automobile leases. But Salerno failed to do as promised, instead ripping off clients. Salerno netted several hundred thousand dollars from this scheme alone.

If convicted, Salerno faces a maximum possible sentence of 580 years in prison, three years supervised release, a fine of $7.25 million and full restitution.

Read this next

Digital Assets

Paxos opens R&D center in Israel to focus on transaction signing and crypto custody security

“Paxos is looking to expand its team in Israel in 2023 and beyond, giving engineers the opportunity to work on cutting-edge financial products and shape the future of the global economy.”

Executive Moves

Stash appoints Liza Landsman as CEO to further grow investing app

Stash is an investing and banking app with over 2 million active subscribers. Its subscription plans start at just $3 a month, and offer a range of products including investing, banking, education, and advice.

Institutional FX

Invast Global ramps up its offering with 10 soft commodity CFDs

Sydney-based prime-of-prime provider Invast Global has expanded its offering with the addition of ten soft commodity CFDs, which increases their index and commodity CFD offering to 35 instruments.

Retail FX

FF Simple and Smart Trades says Goodbye to CySEC authorization

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) confirmed that it has wholly withdrawn the Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF) licenses of FF Simple and Smart Trades Investment Services Ltd.

Crypto Insider

Shining the Light in Crypto’s Dark Places

Something changed in regulators’ minds after the November crash of the FTX crypto exchange.

Executive Moves

Financial Commission Adds Sam Low to Dispute Resolution Committee

The Financial Commission (FinaCom PLC), a dispute resolution service that caters to the financial services industry, has appointed Sam Low as the newest member of its Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC).

Digital Assets, Uncategorized

De-facto owner of Bithumb exchange arrested in South Korea

South Korean prosecutors have arrested Kang Jong-Hyun, the anonymous chairman and owner of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, on charges of embezzlement and stock manipulation.

Retail FX

Interactive Brokers volumes snap three-month losing streak

Electronic brokerage firm Interactive Brokers LLC (NASDAQ:IBKR) said its trading volumes rose in January, an indication that investor confidence in the financial markets is rebounding after having been fairly mixed over the past few months.

Digital Assets

VVF invests $5 million in Everscale, a potential Layer 2 solution for Venom blockchain

“For us, this is a strategic investment aimed at the technological development of projects and teams around technologies that we focus on and actively develop. In particular, we are talking about the Venom blockchain project and its ecosystem, which is planned to be launched soon and for which Everscale is a potential Layer 2 solution.”

<