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.

Sep 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:


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