Two Jacksonville Men Charged with Investment Fraud
JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Joshua Gilliland (31) and Chawalit (“Chow”) Wongkhiao (28), both of Jacksonville, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted on all counts, each faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies both men that the United States intends to seek forfeiture of $1.13 million, which represents the proceeds of the wire fraud offense, and $4,104,823, the amount of money involved in the money laundering offense.
According to the indictment, Gilliland and Wongkhiao, doing business as Allied Markets LLC, solicited money for purported investments in foreign currency exchange (“forex”) transactions. Between March 2012 and July 2014, based on their representations, investors gave them substantial amounts of money. Contrary to their representations, Gilliland and Wongkhiao allegedly invested only about one-fifth of the total investors’ funds in forex transactions, which resulted in a loss. A large portion of the funds were used for personal expenses, including cash withdrawals, rent, furnishings, clothing, travel, food, and entertainment. They also used some of the funds received from later investors to pay off earlier investors.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of one of more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the Jacksonville Beach Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.