Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, 47, has pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering pertaining to a scam that defrauded more than 3,500 victims of more than $16 million, according to the US Department of Justice. Karlsson apparently directed his victims to make investments using virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin.
Karlsson, a citizen of Sweden, and his company, Eastern Metal Securities (EMS), was said to have operated a website to commit defraud his victims.
The indictment states that from Nov. 27, 2012, through June 19, 2019, Karlsson and EMS used www.easternmetalsecurities.com to make fraudulent representations and convince victims to send funds using a virtual currency exchange. During the same period, the perpetrators used deceptive “devices and contrivances” to sell securities and then tried to conceal the proceeds of the wire fraud and securities fraud.
Karlsson also utilized numerous aliases including Steve Heyden, Euclid Deodoris, Joshua Millard, Lars Georgsson, Paramon Larasoft, and Kenth Westerberg. He was arrested on June 17, 2019, in Thailand and was extradited to the United States to face the charges.
A federal grand jury indicted Karlsson and EMS on July 25, 2019. Karlsson pleaded guilty to all the charges pending against him. EMS has ceased to exist.
Karlsson is said to have also used a second website, www.hci25.com, to make multiple false communications to potential investors.
Karlsson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine for the wire fraud and securities fraud charges, and 20 years in prison and a $500,000 maximum fine for the money laundering charge.
The DOJ states that in addition, the court also may order an additional term of supervised release, fines or other assessments, and restitution, if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence.