Two men have been charged with federal conspiracy, fraud and money laundering crimes after they convinced over 700 victims to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their Nevada-based company with the expectation that they would earn high rates of return in the foreign currency exchange market, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Richard Young, 49, of Lewistown, Montana, and William Willard, 65, of Bozeman, Montana, as well as the Nevada-based companies they operated, Global One Group, LLC (Global One), Maelee Enterprises, Inc., and Badie, Inc., are charged in a December 3, 2008 Indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, 11 counts of engaging in money transactions with property derived from criminal activity, and criminal forfeiture. The Indictment was sealed until December 30, 2008, to allow law enforcement officials time to serve the defendants with summons to appear in court to answer the charges.
“Individuals should be particularly cautious of promises of unusually high rates of return on investments,” said U.S. Attorney Brower. “Offers that sound too good to be true could actually be part of a fraudulent scheme devised to steal your money.”
According to the allegations in the indictment, Young and Willard made false representations to enrich themselves with hundreds of thousands of dollars they received from investors in the United States and in foreign countries. Young and Willard told investors that they provided an educational opportunity regarding trading techniques on the foreign currency exchange market. Young and Willard charged investors a $500 annual membership fee to access Global One’s website and to participate in Global One’s conference calls and web-based seminars (“webinars”). In these calls and webinars, Young and Willard represented that Young had made 8000 successful trades in a year on the foreign exchange market without one loss, that Global One investors could earn a substantial rate of return on their investments, and that Global One had an automated software trading program, called “Global Trac,” which they said had been tested and improved upon and had the ability to automatically execute successful trades on the foreign exchange market.
Global One allegedly received money from some investors in the form of loans and instructed investors to open accounts with brokers approved by Global One. In addition, the defendants obtained powers of attorney from the investors which gave the defendants rights to make trades on the investors’ behalf. Young and Willard told investors that the services Global One provided were governed by the regulations of the foreign currency exchange market; however, Global was not a licensed broker in that market and therefore was not subject to its regulations or the regulations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the National Futures Association.
The indictment alleges that Young’s trading record was misleading in that it accounted only for profitable trades that had been closed. Moreover, it is alleged that Global One did not have the “Global Trac” software it advertised on its conference calls and in its “webinars.” In addition, Young and Willard did not intend to fulfill the substantial rate of return on loans provided to them by their investors, as Young and Willard used the monies they received from the investors primarily for their own personal use by transferring the monies from the Global One bank accounts in Reno and Las Vegas to the bank accounts of Maelee Enterprises, Inc.,and Badie, Inc., companies owned respectively by Young and Willard. The indictment alleges that between April 2006 and October 2007, Young and Willard received approximately $900,000 from investors as a result of their false representations.
According to the indictment, from about January 2006 to February 2007, Global One’s offices were located at 5190 Neil Road, Suite 430, in Reno, Nevada, and that, in February 2007, Global One moved its offices to 1850 East Sahara Avenue, Suite 207, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Young is listed in corporate records as the founder, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Manager of Global One. Willard is a co-founder and Member of Global One.
The defendants are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke in Reno on January 22, 2009, at 3:00 p.m. for an initial appearance and arraignment. If convicted, they face up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine on the conspiracy count and on each mail fraud and wire fraud count, up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on each money laundering count, and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of engaging in money transactions in property derived from unlawful activity.
The investigation is being conducted by the IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James E. Keller.