Guilty Plea in $3.4 Million Forex Investment Scheme
BOSTON—A Quincy man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with a scheme which defrauded $3.4 million from sixty-five individuals who sought to invest in the foreign currency exchange market.
Marcellus Lopes Lee, 47, pleaded guilty today to sixteen counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering. Lee was indicted on those charges in July 2014. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Nov. 2, 2015.
Lee owned and operated Taurus Global Markets, Ltd. (TGM), an entity which Lee held out as a company that engaged in foreign currency trading (forex) on behalf of investors. Lee defrauded investors by convincing them to wire funds to TGM’s Belize bank account for the purpose of trading in the highly-risky forex market. Lee, however, did not trade the investor money and instead used it for his personal expenses. Although TGM’s website represented that it had staff, management, and a computer network “distributed all across the world,” TGM, in fact, had no employees and Lee operated it by himself, primarily from his residence in Quincy. Lee also sent investors what purported to be account documents reflecting that their money was invested in the forex market. Eventually, most investors were told that most or all of their money had been lost in forex trading when, in reality, Lee had simply spent it.
The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than twenty years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.