On July 8, 2021, the US Department of Justice announced that Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, a Swedish citizen, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges stemming from his involvement in a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme known to have seriously impacted at least 138 victims. Karlsson was also ordered to forfeit a number of assets including properties, bank accounts, and a resort in Thailand, and must pay a $16 million forfeiture money judgment. The court is also expected to order Karlsson to pay restitution to his victims.
According to court documents, from 2011 until his arrest in 2019, Karlsson ran an investment scheme that enticed victims, usually vulnerable and financially insecure investors, to purchase shares called “Eastern Metal Securities” and other fraudulent securities using cryptocurrency and other payment platforms. Karlsson allegedly promised his victims “astronomical returns” tied to the price of gold, but instead, transferred the funds to personal accounts and used the proceeds to purchase luxury items such as expensive homes, a resort in Thailand, and even a racehorse. Karlsson maintained the scheme for years by offering his victims updates and fabricated account statements.