Swedish national Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson sentenced to 15 years in prison after swindling thousands of victims for more than $16 million in a cryptocurrency fraud.
Karlsson was arrested on June 17, 2019 in Thailand and was extradited to the US where he pleaded guilty on March 4, 2021.
Karlsson used his website to lure potential investors to purchase shares of less than $100 a piece with an eventual payout of 1.15 kilograms of gold per share. On January 2, 2019, gold was worth more than $45,000 per kilogram. The funds paid by these victims were instead directed to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts, where the money was put towards expensive homes, a racehorse, and a resort in Thailand. Karlsson has been ordered to forfeit this Thai resort and various other properties and accounts as part of the sentence.
The $16 million crypto-fraud scheme scheme, however, was not over once the funds were transferred. To prolong his fraud, Karlsson would even update his victims with the state of their assets. In one instance, when he was trying to explain payout delays, he said he was working with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
During the hearing, Karlsson admitted that he used the website to invite 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. Karlsson advised investors that, in the unlikely event that the gold payout did not happen, he guaranteed to them 97% of the amount they invested. Karlsson admitted he had no way to pay off the investors. Instead, the funds provided by victims were transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts and he then used proceeds to purchase expensive homes and a resort in Thailand.Karlsson sentencing information from Justice.gov
Karlsson’s fraud targeted financially insecure investors, the department said, causing many of them severe financial hardship.The scheme, however, was not over once the funds were transferred. To prolong his fraud, Karlsson would even update his victims with the state of their assets. In one instance, when he was trying to explain payout delays, he said he was working with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Karlsson sentence included asset forfeiture
As part of the Karlsson sentence, the Swede was ordered to forfeit his resort and other properties and accounts. He also issued a money judgment in the amount of $16,263,820.
Cryptocurrency fraud schemes have been on the rise ever since digital assets exploded in popularity with fraudsters becoming more and more creative in the ways they swindle people, but you could argue that this is indicative of all currencies, not just in the crypto sphere.