SEC Seeks Trial of Swedish National Over Alleged Fraud That Took $3.5M in Crypto

The man is alleged to have fleeced 2,200 victims in the U.S. and 45 other countries, netting $3.5 million via payments in bitcoin and other digital assets.

AccessTimeIconSep 30, 2020 at 9:37 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:02 a.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is demanding the trial by jury of a Swedish national for his alleged involvement in an international fraud that raked in millions in cryptocurrency.

  • According to a complaint filed Tuesday in New York's Eastern District Court, the securities watchdog is seeking damages on behalf of "thousands of retail investors" from Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, 46.
  • Karlsson "enticed and defrauded" his victims through his purported company Eastern Metal Securities (EMS) by promising "astronomical returns" on their investments, the SEC alleges.
  • It further claims neither Karlsson nor EMS were ever registered with the commission, and neither had qualified for an exemption to registration.
  • Specifically, from around November 2012 through to June 2019, the SEC alleges Karlsson operated a fraudulent scheme called a "Pre Funded Reversed Pension Plan."
  • During that time Karlsson used multiple fake identities to deceive investors, including some from the deaf community, out of millions of dollars, according to the complaint.
  • The plan promised a large payout that was tied to the value of gold if victims made an initial investment of $98, but, per the complaint, no such plan existed and no payouts occurred.
  • In total, Karlsson is alleged to have fleeced 2,200 victims from 49 U.S. states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and 45 other countries, netting himself $3.5 million via payments in bitcoin and other digital assets.
  • Misappropriated funds of around $1.5 million were used to purchase real estate in Thailand, his country of residence before being extradited to the U.S. to face charges.
  • The SEC asked the court for Karlsson to be restrained along with other members of the alleged fraud.
  • The regulator further seeks that Karlsson's "ill-gotten gains" should be handed over, along with prejudgment interest and additional penalties.

Read the court document in full below:


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about