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Swedish Crypto Scammer Jailed for 15 Years in Gold-Backed Fraud


A citizen of Sweden was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manipulating a cryptocurrency scam claiming to pay investors based on the value of gold reserves.

Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, 47, and his firm, Eastern Metal Securities (EMS), were charged with a securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in March this year after being prosecuted in the United States following his arrest in Thailand in 2019. Later, he was extradited. 

Karlsson claimed to operate an investment service based on cryptocurrency and investors who participated in EMS from 2012 to 2019 were offered a plan to buy stocks for less than $100 and ultimately realize a return equivalent to 1.15 kilograms of gold. In 2019, 1.15 kg of gold was worth more than $45,000. Today, its worth could be over $58,000.

To participate in the scheme, investors were asked to buy shares through cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Moreover, merchants had been instructed that in case of the ‘unlikely’ occasion wherein the shares fail to attain their promised worth, participants would have 97% of their initial investment returned.

Karlsson ensured that EMS remained functional for the longest possible duration, he did so via frequent rebranding and issuing updates offering asset statements. Additionally, he misleadingly argued that paying out an unlimited sum all of sudden, would have a damaging impact on international monetary methods, and the company worked with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to explain payment delays.

However, as is commonly the case with extreme return on investment, the promise was too good to be true. Investors found no profit, and instead, Carlson, who also used online aliases such as Steve Hayden, Euclid Deodoris, and Joshua Millard, sucked up cryptocurrencies and used the money to buy properties and a resort in Thailand. US prosecutors estimate that investors have been fooled for more than $16 million.

"Karlsson admitted he had no way to pay off the investors. Karlsson's fraud targeted financially insecure investors, causing severe financial hardship for many of them,” the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said.

In addition to the 15-year sentence, Karlsson has been ordered to forfeit the resort in Thailand, different properties, accounts, and has obtained a financial judgment of $16,263,820. Prosecutors also hope to secure restitution for past EMS investors and an order is expected in court within 90 days. 

The Russian Embassy in Sweden responded to the Swedish Minister's statement about "Russian trolls"

The Russian Embassy in Sweden reacted to an interview with Swedish Minister of Energy and Information Technology Anders Igeman to the TT Agency, in which he said that "Russian trolls" who are opponents of 5G technology attacked his Facebook.

Russia is open for cooperation with Sweden, especially with those of its representatives who are not looking for "Russian trolls". The embassy of the Russian Federation in Sweden wrote about this on Tuesday on its Facebook page.

"We would like to assure the Minister of the fallacy of his opinion that the development of 5G technology in our country is associated with a negative impact on public health. On the contrary, we are open to cooperation with Swedish partners in this area, especially with those who do not suffer, as Anders Igeman, from paranoia in search of "Russian trolls"," said the Embassy.

Anders Igeman said on Monday that an information attack was committed on one of his posts on Facebook organized by opponents of the development of the country's fifth generation of mobile communication 5G. Almost 2 thousand comments were left to this message instead of several hundred. As the Minister himself noted, the content of most of the comments suggests that someone is interested in creating a negative information background around the topic of the development of a new generation of communication. Igeman believes that the "Russian trolls" did this.

"We are especially pleased that Anders Igeman connects the increased interest in his publication about 5G with our country. Judging by the scope of the reaction, almost all Russians who speak Swedish responded to the recent post of Minister!", wrote the representatives of the diplomatic mission.

The Embassy promised to subscribe to the updates of the Swedish Minister and to closely monitor his activity in social networks.

At the same time, representatives of the Embassy expressed hope that Sweden will consider Russia not a threat, but a potential partner.