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.

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