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Conmen plead guilty in forex-based pyramid schemes

01/06 - Two players in lucrative Boca Raton-based pyramid schemes pleaded guilty Friday to a host of counts, with one doing so only after a previously negotiated prison sentence and the other hoping for a judge's mercy.

David Luger, 46, was a key player in foreign currency exchange schemes that did business as Worldwide Forex and USFX and bilked investors out of at least $3.5 million, according to Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Margery Lexa.

At his March 9 sentencing, Circuit Judge Krista Marx has the discretion to send Luger away for 12 to 410 years for his crimes, which include 48 counts of telemarketing fraud by an unlicensed salesperson as well other counts of racketeering, conspiracy, grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and money laundering. He is on house arrest pending sentencing.

Richard Maseri, 48, of Boca Raton, engaged in a separate pyramid scheme with Luger and others while Luger was on house arrest, Lexa said. Acting as his own attorney, Maseri negotiated a five-year prison term, as long as he shows up for formal sentencing on March 6 with a check for $87,800 that will be split among three victims. He pleaded guilty to organized scheme to defraud and fraudulent transactions.

Several other co-defendants previously have pleaded guilty in connection with the schemes. One of the men, Sean Burns, who was the alleged leader, fled to Great Britain. He operated the Ponzi schemes in a "cocaine- and alcohol-induced haze," according to the prosecutor.

Luger, of Boca Raton, ran the operation following Burns' departure.

The defendants, whom Lexa characterized as running a "very sophisticated, very sexy operation," snookered investors from all walks of life and various states.

The recruitment tactics included buying infomercial time on the local AM radio show of Joyce Kaufman, during which Burns touted his market expertise. Another tactic: using a shill to convince people they could make big bucks by investing. The scheme fell apart when too many of the investors wanted out and demanded their money.


Yet Another Florida Scammer Helps Steal Millions in Foreign Currency Scam

10/07 - A federal district court has ordered Boca Raton resident Jeffrey Paul Jedlicki to pay a $405,682 civil monetary fine, and $405,682 restitution in a foreign currency fraud case. Total judgments in the case now exceed $20 million, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said this week.

In the same case, Southern District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga also order Roxana Sofia Lao Mendez (Lao) and Beatriz Peralta Quesada (Peralta) each to pay a $120,000 civil monetary penalty; Jedlicki’s firm, Jeffrey Jedlicki, Inc., was also ordered to pay $347,586 in disgorgement. Each defendant was also ordered to pay post–judgment interest on the restitution and civil monetary penalties, the CFTC said.

The rulings stem from a CFTC case in which the CFTC alleged that, since July 2003, Jedlicki and the corporate defendants defrauded nearly 400 customers who had provided more than $6 million to open foreign currency options trading accounts.

According to the complaint, the corporate defendants transferred most of the customer funds to offshore accounts, from which some funds were paid to the defendants. The CFTC further alleged that only $95,000 was ever returned to customers.

The judgment against Jedlicki found that he committed fraud by “misappropriation and sales solicitation fraud” and that Jedlicki, Inc., received payments from the defendants “for which it did not provide any legitimate goods or services.” Defendants Lao and Peralta aided and abetted the fraudulent activities of the other defendants, the CFTC said.

As reported by the Boca Raton News in 2006, an order entered Nov. 30, 2006, by Judge Altonaga required the corporate defendants (Harrington Advisory Services, SL, Richmond Royce Advisory Services, SLU, and Stafford Advisory Services and relief defendants FED and Associates, LLC, Briscoe and Associates, Inc, and International Investments Holdings Corp. and other defendants) to pay more than $19 million in restitution, disgorgement, and civil monetary penalties.

CFTC Charges Two Staten Island Hedge Funds In Foreign Currency Scheme

01/06 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that it filed a federal injunctive action against Alexsander Efrosman, a/k/a Alex Besser, of Staten Island, New York, and two hedge funds under his control, Century Maxim Fund Inc., and AJR Capital Inc., charging them with fraud in the sale of illegal foreign currency (forex) futures contracts.

Specifically, the CFTC alleges that, between April 2004 and June 2005, defendants fraudulently solicited and obtained more than $5 million dollars from as many as 110 customers for the purpose of trading managed accounts in forex futures contracts that were not, as required, traded on a registered entity. The complaint alleges that defendants misappropriated the funds.

Efrosman was previously indicted for mail and wire fraud relating to foreign currency trading in a different scheme, and fled the country. He subsequently was extradited from France to face trial, and in November 2000, pleaded guilty to nineteen counts of mail and wire fraud before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and was sentenced to a term of three years of imprisonment.

The CFTC’s complaint alleges that shortly after his release from prison, Efrosman engaged in a new forex scheme through purported hedge funds Century Maxim Fund and AJR Capital. Allegedly, he fraudulently solicited customers to trade forex through Century Maxim Fund, which, Efrosman falsely represented as a hedge fund that had attracted investments from a large number of high net-worth individuals. The complaint also alleges that Efrosman fraudulently solicited customers for forex trading through AJR Capital, which, Efrosman represented to be an opportunity for customers of more modest means to profit from forex trading. According to the complaint, Efrosman misappropriated more than $300,000 from Century Maxim Fund investors and more than $4.9 million from AJR Capital investors.

The complaint also alleges that Efrosman provided his customers with fictitious Century Maxim and AJR Capital account statements reflecting trades that did not actually occur, and profits that did not exist. According to the complaint, the fictitious statements were instrumental in the propagation of the fraud and the solicitation of new customers. Finally, the complaint alleges that all the purported forex trading Efrosman solicited customers to undertake was illegal, as the contracts he solicited were futures contracts that could only be traded on a registered entity.

The CFTC filed its complaint on September 30, 2005. On that same day, court orders were entered which, among other things, froze defendants’ assets and sealed the complaint. The court’s seal was lifted on January 24, 2006. In its complaint, the CFTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, a freeze of defendants’ funds, restitution for defrauded customers, civil monetary penalties, and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains. © Crimes of Persuasion 2000 Legal Disclaimer

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