Swedish crypto conman sentenced to 15 years in prison for $16 million scam

Rick Steves

Karlsson was extradited from Thailand and was facing 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.

Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, who pleaded guilty on March 4 for securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges, was sentenced today to 15 years in prison.

The Swedish man’s actions defrauded thousands of victims of more than $16 million: he ran an investment fraud scheme from 2011 until his arrest in Thailand in June 2019. Karlsson induced victims to purchase shares in the scheme called “Eastern Metal Securities” using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and other online payment platforms, according to court documents.

Also known by several aliases including Steve Heyden, Euclid Deodoris, Joshua Millard, Lars Georgsson, Paramon Larasoft, and Kenth Westerberg, Mr. Karlsson invited potential investors to purchase shares of the plan for less than $100 per share, promising an eventual payout of 1.15 kilograms of gold per share, an amount of gold which as of Jan. 2, 2019, was worth more than $45,000.

He also guaranteed clients 97% of the amount they invested, although he later admitted to the authorities he had no way to pay off the investors. The funds were transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts and he then used proceeds to purchase expensive homes and a resort in Thailand.

Karlsson was extradited from Thailand and was facing 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 – as covered by FinanceFeeds in March.

He promised victims astronomical returns tied to the price of gold, but kept customers’ funds in his personal bank accounts instead. He then used the money to buy expensive homes, a racehorse and a resort in Thailand.

He then prolonged his scheme by resorting to rebranding, offering updates and account statements that provided assurances to the victims of the states of their assets, and offering explanations for the payout delays – including falsely claiming to be working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The court ordered Karlsson to forfeit a Thai resort and various other properties and accounts, and issued a money judgment in the amount of $16,263,820.

Victims of Roger Karlsson and Eastern Metal Securities who have not been in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California are encouraged to submit information as soon as possible.

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