A Swedish man was sentenced on July 8 to 15 years in prison for securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges that defrauded thousands of victims of more than $16 million.
Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, 47, pleaded guilty on March 4. According to court documents, Karlsson ran an investment fraud scheme from 2011 until his arrest in Thailand in June 2019. Karlsson induced victims to purchase shares in the scheme called “Eastern Metal Securities” using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and other online payment platforms. Karlsson promised victims astronomical returns tied to the price of gold. Instead, the funds provided by victims were transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts, and he then used proceeds to purchase expensive homes, a racehorse and a resort in Thailand. Karlsson’s fraud targeted financially insecure investors, causing severe financial hardship for many of them. Meanwhile, Karlsson went to great lengths to prolong his scheme, including rebranding, offering updates and account statements that provided assurances to the victims of the states of their assets, and offering explanations for the payout delays – including falsely claiming to be working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
As part of the sentence, Karlsson was also ordered to forfeit a Thai resort and various other properties and accounts, and issued a money judgment in the amount of $16,263,820. The United States is seeking restitution on behalf of Karlsson’s victims. A restitution order is expected to be entered by the court within 90 days. Victims of Roger Karlsson and Eastern Metal Securities who have not been in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California are encouraged to submit information as soon as possible. Additional information for victims and a victim form are available at the Department of Justice.
IRS-CI Washington, D.C. Cyber Crimes Unit investigated the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the FBI Legal Attaché Office in Thailand, the IRS-CI Attaché Office in Hong Kong and the Royal Thai Police Crime Suppression Division provided significant assistance. The SEC’s New York Regional Office also provided substantial support.