Suburban Chicago Man Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Laundering Proceeds from Telemarketing Scheme That Defrauded Elderly Victims (DOJ Release)
In the Matter of the Arbitration Between Eilesia Kepper Dixon, Claimant, v. LPL Financial LLC, Respondent (FINRA Arbitration Award)
[I]n January 2020, Vladimir Okhotnikov, Jane Doe a/k/a Lola Ferrari, Mikhail Sergeev, and Sergey Maslakov launched Forsage.io, a website that allowed millions of retail investors to enter into transactions via smart contracts that operated on the Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchains. However, Forsage allegedly has operated as a pyramid scheme for more than two years, in which investors earned profits by recruiting others into the scheme. Forsage also allegedly used assets from new investors to pay earlier investors in a typical Ponzi structure.
Despite cease-and-desist actions against Forsage for operating as a fraud in September 2020 by the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines and in March 2021 by the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, the defendants allegedly continued to promote the scheme while denying the claims in several YouTube videos and by other means.
used a phony Indian passport, false name, and false address to open multiple bank accounts in the United States to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme. The scheme involved phone calls from people falsely claiming to be associated with, among other agencies, the Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Justice, stating that a victim's identity had been stolen and that it was necessary to transfer money to various bank accounts, including the accounts opened by Chaudhari.One of the victims was a retired nurse from Massachusetts who transferred a total of more than $900,000 from her bank and retirement accounts to accounts controlled by Chaudhari or others. On April 19, 2018 - one day after Chaudhari opened an account and received a $7,000 transfer from the Massachusetts victim - Chaudhari entered a bank branch in Chicago and withdrew $6,500. Chaudhari engaged in this financial transaction knowing that the money represented proceeds of unlawful activity.
LAROCHE created, owned, and operated a business, Capital City Consulting Firm, that purported to provide financial management services. Victim 1 was a client of LAROCHE's, and LAROCHE was responsible for performing bookkeeping, accounting, and other financial services for Victim 1 and Victim 1's businesses. LAROCHE had signatory authority and access to Victim 1's bank accounts.From about February 2015 through March 2021, LAROCHE engaged in a scheme to defraud Victim 1 and Victim 1's businesses by withdrawing funds from Victim 1's accounts under false pretenses and using the funds for her own benefit. Specifically, LAROCHE falsely represented that the funds were being used to pay federal income taxes. When Victim 1 asked LAROCHE about the status of Victim 1's tax obligations, LAROCHE lied to Victim 1 as a means of hiding her scheme. LAROCHE also arranged for monthly payments to pay for an automobile insurance policy benefitting someone other than Victim 1 to be automatically withdrawn from Victim 1's account without Victim 1's knowledge or consent. In total, LAROCHE embezzled $233,363.53 from Victim 1.