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Daily fraud update: 19th November

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Married couple own up to forex fraud claims

A husband and wife from New Jersey in the US have admitted to running a forex Ponzi scheme in which over 20 people were scammed.

Alcibiades Cifuentes, who is 36 years old, and his wife Jennifer Wee Cifuentes, who is 38 years old, owned up to the scheme after they were indicted two years ago.

Both of them faced six counts of various crimes, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft by a commodity pool operator, and more.

Both pleaded guilty to the crimes.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, the pair operated their scheme from 2012 until 2015, and solicited a double-figure number of victims to trade with their supposed hedge fund, Cifuentes Fund Management.

However, they then went on to spend the cash on personal items.

Presumably in order to create the illusion of a successful scheme, investors would occasionally receive what were described as returns – but they were in fact simply new payments from new sign-ups.

The Department provided more information about how the scam unfolded.

“They fraudulently induced victims to invest in the foreign currency and commodity markets through Cifuentes Fund Management (CFM), their hedge fund that purportedly invested in foreign currencies”, it said.

“Instead, they almost immediately spent those investment funds on personal items, such as an Audi R8 and jewelry.

“The couple would then pay back a portion of the victims’ money with money received from newly duped victims. The couple defrauded approximately 25 victims of more than $500,000”, it added.

Each of the counts carry significant potential maximum sentences.

The count of wire fraud conspiracy alone could lead to a maximum sentence of two decades in prison.

They also face fines which could extend into the millions of dollars.

Swedish man extradited over crypto fraud claims

A man from Sweden has been told that he will face an extradition from Thailand to the US in order to appear before a court.

Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, who is 45, has been accused of a range of crimes including wire fraud, securities fraud and more.

In total, he is accused of scamming his investors out of over $11m.

He allegedly solicited investors to use cryptocurrencies to invest in commodities such as gold.

The US Department of Justice said that he told traders that he would guarantee the return of almost all of the investment capital in the event that the returns did not materialise.

“Karlsson also allegedly advised investors that, in the unlikely event that the gold payout did not happen, he guaranteed to them 97% of the amount they invested”, it said.

“According to the complaint, the government found no evidence of any accounts held by Karlsson that would allow him to pay off the investors”, it added.

“Instead, the complaint alleges, the funds provided by victims were transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts and now appear to be tied up in real estate in Thailand.”

The case continues.