Crypto scammer sentenced to 15 years in prison
The mastermind behind what the government says is one of the biggest cryptocurrency ponzi schemes prosecuted in the United States has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. As crypto scams become more common, Swedish citizen Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson defrauded thousands of victims and stole tens of millions of dollars over a period that spanned nearly a decade. He pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud charges, as well as money laundering charges on March 4.
According to the Justice Department, Karlsson ran his fraudulent investment program from 2011 until his arrest in Thailand in 2019. It targeted financially insecure people, such as the elderly, persuading them to use the cryptocurrency to buy shares in a company he called “Eastern Metal Titles.” Based on information from court documents, he promised victims huge payments related to the price of gold, but the money they handed over was not invested at all. Instead, it was transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts and used to buy expensive homes and even resorts in Thailand.
To keep his program running for nearly a decade, he would change his name and show victims account statements in an attempt to convince them their funds are safe. Karlsson would then give them various excuses for the late payments and even falsely claim to work with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Upon conviction, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer ordered the confiscation of his resorts and Thai accounts. He was also ordered to pay his victims the sum of $ 16,263,820.
Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds of the Northern District of California said:
“Roger Karlsson’s fraud investigation uncovered an appallingly callous ploy that spanned over a decade in which Karlsson targeted thousands of victims, including financially vulnerable seniors, to rob them without mercy on their possessions and all this to fuel an extravagant lifestyle surrounded by luxury condominiums and The court’s decision to order a 180-month prison sentence reflects the fact that Karlsson’s cryptocurrency ponzi scheme is the ‘one of the most important to have been sentenced to date and guarantees that Karlsson will now have plenty of time to reflect on the harm he has suffered… caused to his victims. “