“A talented, intelligent young man forms an investment company, garners investment interest from friends and family members, loses a substantial amount of money through speculative trading, and instead of facing his investors he begins to falsify account statements”, US Government says of Michael Wright.
The United States Government has addressed the New York Souther District Court, regarding the sentencing of Michael Wright, head of Wright Time Capital Group, LLC (WTGG), also known as Global FX Club. Mr Wright is scheduled to be sentenced on January 25, 2018, having pled guilty to commodities fraud.
In line with a plea agreement between the parties, the United States Sentencing Guidelines range is 37 to 46 months’ imprisonment. The Government submits that a term of imprisonment within the Guidelines range would be sufficient to achieve the purposes of sentencing. The Government is also seeking restitution of $358,070 on behalf of ten investors.
In 2011, the defendant started WTCG to invest in off-exchange foreign currency (Forex) transactions for the benefit of investors in WTCG. The investors in WTCG were mostly friends, family members and acquaintances of the defendant. While Mr Wright did initially invest the victims’ money in Forex transactions, WTCG began to lose a significant amount of money because of WTCG’s poor trading performance. Instead of being transparent with investors about their losses because of his poor trading performance, the defendant falsified account statements, used new cash inflows from victims to pay back previous investors, and in some instances used investor money to pay for his own personal expenses. As a result, the victims lost nearly everything they invested with WTCG.
Let’s note that Mr Wright’s sentencing submission asks for a non-incaceratory sentence based on, inter alia, its view that the Guidelines over emphasize loss amount in calculating the Offense Level in fraud cases, as well as the defendant’s personal characteristics, remorse for his crime, and desire to make restitution to the victims.
The US Government insists that the Guidelines sentence is necessary in this case to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, to provide just punishment, to afford adequate deterrence to this defendant and other similarly situated individuals, and to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant. All of these considerations, according to the US Attorney, weigh in favor of a sentence of incarceration within the Guidelines range of 37 to 46 months’ imprisonment.
This fact pattern, unfortunately, is not uncommon, says the Government:
“A talented, intelligent young man forms an investment company, garners investment interest from friends and family members, loses a substantial amount of money through speculative trading, and instead of facing his investors he begins to falsify account statements and repay investors with cash inflows from new investors”.
According to the US Government, a sentence of imprisonment will help ensure the defendant appreciates the seriousness of his fraud.
The case is captioned USA v. Wright (1:17-cr-00459).