BULLETIN: Beau Diamond Found Guilty On All 18 Counts In Florida-Based Forex Scheme; Office Of U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton Is Tackling A Number Of HYIP Schemes
Diamond, 32, was the operator of Diamond Ventures LLC of Sarasota. He was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriffâ€™s Office in September 2009, after a probe by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service. The CFTC filed civil charges in the case.
In an unusual but not unprecedented approach, a sitting U.S. Attorney actually argued elements of the criminal case against Diamond in the courtroom instead of simply supervising the government’s case.
U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton is presiding over the prosecution of two highly complex HYIP schemes, including Traders International Returns Network (TIRN) and the alleged Evolution Marketing Group/FinanzasForex fraud case.
TIRN operator David Merrick pleaded guilty in May to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud in the TIRN Ponzi scheme.
In the Evolution Marketing Group/FinanzasForex case, prosecutors said investigators had tied some of the money collected in the alleged scheme to the international narcotics trade. Court filings in the case paint a picture of an incredibly elaborate maze of companies and bank accounts set up to confuse both investors and law enforcement. At least 59 bank accounts, 294 bars of gold and nine luxury vehicles have been seized in the case. One of the cars was a 2008 Lamborghini Murcielago valued at more than $430,000.
The EMG/Finanzas allegations are explosive because they showcase the now-undeniable fact that people who promote programs such as HYIPs and autosurfs because such programs may pay â€œcommissionsâ€ to recruit new members may be operating as fronts or conduits for international drug dealers and money-launderers.
Albritton also is tackling the epidemic of mortgage fraud in Florida, which has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the United States and is experiencing a rash of bank failures.
As filed by prosecutors and the CFTC, some of the allegations against Diamond read like discussions commonly seen on HYIP Ponzi forums.
Among other things, the CFTC alleged that Diamond urged members not to call authorities when the scheme was going belly-up because involving the government only would make matters worse.
The Diamond Ventures enterprise quit paying in December 2008, telling some members they had not received checks because it took longer for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail near the holidays, CFTC said.
Other members were told Diamond had a problem with Bank of America and was transferring his accounts to JP Morgan Chase, CFTC said.
By Jan. 7, 2009, Diamond was explaining to customers that a â€œserious situationâ€ had emerged. On Jan 9, he told customers that â€œthe funds have been lostâ€ due to a downturn in the world economy and unprecedented volatility, CFTC said.
What Diamond did not tell customers was that he had lost huge sums in forex trades, had sent customers bogus account statements showing they were money to the good â€” and blew a tremendous sum on gambling, air travel, jewelry and hotel accommodations, CFTC said.
By Jan 22, 2009, CFTC said, Diamond was urging customers not to â€œinitiate a federal investigationâ€ because such an event would lead to a situation in which â€œno one will see a penny, and I most likely will be behind bars,â€ CFTC said.
Visit the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to learn more about the Beau Diamond case.
With today’s convictions, Diamond potentially faces decades in prison.