Fund recovery scammer will be facing over 5 years prison time after ripping of multiple investors. It is certainly not news that recovery scam schemes are popular right now and you can find them spamming most forums online in the hopes of getting traders to email them but also cold calling investors. Most of these scammers, however, are easy to expose since they use a Gmail address and nothing official but the fraudster in our story went a step further by claiming to be an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) representative.
Image: Typical Fund Recovery Spammers and Scammers that are trying to get traders to contact them.
Beware, Imposters: Not the Real SEC Employees
In order to fool as many people as possible, these recovery scammers went a step farther than most typical scammers do. They pretended to be SEC employees and created e-mail addresses that looked similar to a legitimate SEC e-mail address such as [email protected] and [email protected] as it was reported by Financefeeds.com. Their real info was hidden because the scammers hid behind fake IP addresses and fake e-mails and had stablished a money transfer scheme in order to cover their tracks.
In fact, the SEC.gov issued a warning in April 2018 regarding imposters claiming to work for SEC and warned that they ask for sensitive information from traders. Below is some part of the issued warning that also included an audio recording of one such imposter.
“Washington D.C., April 4, 2018 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued an Investor Alert warning investors of fraudsters claiming to be SEC employees in an attempt to trick investors into sending money or revealing sensitive account information. The alert makes clear that the SEC does not contact investors to confirm trades, set up trading accounts, or record the details of trades. The alert also notes that federal government agencies, including the SEC, do not endorse or sponsor any particular securities, issuers, products, services, professional credentials, firms, or individuals.”
Jail Time for the Criminals
The main suspect, in this case, is Leonel Valerio Santana and he is sentenced to over 5 years prison time together with a fine of over 100,000$ to be paid to the victims. However, according to Reuters, Leonel managed to trick investors into paying him about 1.3 million USD – which is a far bigger amount than the 100,000 fine. Especially when considering that the people who lost money to this recovery scam are not the only victims in this case but also the SEC employees who got their identities misused by the scammers.
Suspect You Were Called by an Imposter?
Although one crook is behind bars, there will be thousands more. Whether it’s a recovery scam, Bitcoin Trading Robot scam or a shady broker, you need to always make a fact check of their claims. The SEC provided the investors with this information in case you think you were contacted by an imposter:
“Investors who are unsure whether correspondence claiming to be from the SEC is authentic can call the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) at 1-800-732-0330 or email [email protected]. OIEA responds to investors’ questions and complaints engage in educational outreach, and provides free investment tools and resources on Investor.gov.”