Swedish crypto scammer sentenced to 15 years in prison


The US Department of Justice (DOJ) coat of arms can be seen in Washington, DC, USA on May 10, 2021.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

A Swede wanted by the United States for fraud against over 3,500 victims of more than $ 16 million has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for securities fraud, wire transfer fraud and money laundering, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The DOJ says 47-year-old Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson ran an investment fraud program from 2011 until his arrest in Thailand in June 2019. In March he pleaded guilty.

According to court documents, Karlsson encouraged victims to buy shares in a system called Eastern Metal Securities, which uses cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and promises “astronomical returns” tied to the price of gold.

The funds paid by these victims were instead transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts, where the money was invested in expensive homes, a racehorse and a resort in Thailand. Karlsson was ordered to forfeit this Thai resort and various other properties and accounts as part of the sentence.

Karlsson partially kept the trick up by offering the victims updates and bank statements. He also explained delayed payouts by falsely claiming to be working with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Karlsson’s scam targeted financially insecure investors, and the US is demanding compensation on behalf of those victims.

In addition to repaying $ 16,263,820, the court is expected to issue a restraint order within 90 days. Victims who had no contact with the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California were encouraged to provide information as soon as possible.