Individual Posing as Investment Adviser Sentenced to 46 Months for Operating a Million-Dollar Investment Fraud Scheme
Earlier today, a Brooklyn man who was convicted of wire fraud after defrauding a Hawaiian investor of $1 million was sentenced to 46 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution. Telson Okhio, the vice president of Ohio Group Holdings, Inc. (“OGH”), an alleged investment firm, was sentenced by United States District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York. Okhio pleaded guilty to wire fraud in March 2012.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Between February and April 2009, Okhio, posing as an investment adviser, solicited $5 million from an investor in Hawaii. Okhio assured the investor that he would invest his money in a $100 million trading platform in the foreign currency exchange market. Okhio also assured the investor that his investment would earn a 200 percent profit in four weeks and that his investment would never be at risk.
Almost immediately after the victim wired $5 million from a bank account in Hawaii to OGH’s bank account at a branch of Bank of America in Queens, New York, Okhio wire-transferred $1 million of the investment to his personal account at JPMorgan Chase in Queens, New York. From there, Okhio withdrew the $1 million through a series of cash and ATM withdrawals and wire transfers to third parties. The scheme resulted in approximately $1,000,000 in losses to the investor.
Soon after Okhio pleaded guilty, he attempted to withdraw his guilty plea. Following a hearing that spanned several months, Judge Mauskopf found that Okhio had lied several times during his testimony and denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea.
“Outwardly, Okhio wore the persona of a trusted investment adviser. In reality his image was a fraud and his promises part of the web of lies he used to ensnare his victim. Okhio sought to continue the con even after his guilty plea, as he attempted to deceive the court with his repeated lies. He viewed the court as just another ‘mark.’ He was wrong. Those who exploit investors for financial gain will be held accountable for their crimes and will face significant prison sentences,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which led the government’s criminal investigation.
This prosecution was the result of efforts by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.StopFraud.gov.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sylvia Shweder.
TELSON OKHIO Age: 52 Brooklyn, NY E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 12-CR-179 (RRM)