Swedish National Sentenced to 15 Years in Crypto Fraud Case

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A Swedish man who swindled more than 3,500 victims out of more than $16 million worth of bitcoin and other payment platforms from 2011-2019 received a 15-year prison sentence for securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, 47, was also ordered to forfeit a Thai resort he purchased with the stolen funds and $16,263,820 in restitution, DoJ said in a release Thursday.

From 2011 to 2019, when he was arrested in Thailand, Karlsson ran an investment fraud scheme using the name Eastern Metal Securities. Karlsson promised his victims “astronomical returns” on their investments, paid in bitcoin and other online payment methods tied to the price of gold. Instead, Karlsson kept the money and used it to fund a string of expensive properties and a racehorse.

Related: Korean Authorities Investigate 33 People for $1.48B in Illicit Crypto Transactions

Karlsson pleaded guilty to the scheme in March.

Karlsson’s sentencing is one in a recent series of fraud charges brought by different U.S. agencies against individuals, as regulators attempt to clamp down on illegal activities in the crypto space.

The case against Karlsson was an international joint effort involving the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigations division, the FBI Legal Attache Office in Thailand, the IRS-CI Attache Office in Hong Kong and the Royal Thai Police Crime Suppression Division.

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