A Swedish man accused of running a business that encouraged people to invest using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin has been extradited from Thailand to the U.S. to face criminal charges.
The man, Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, 45, was initially arrested in Thailand in June for alleged securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to an announcement from the U.S. Justice Department on Monday. Prosecutors allege Karlsson defrauded more than 3,500 victims for over $11 million in cryptocurrency fraud.
Karlsson allegedly used two websites – easternmetalsecurities.com and hci25.com – to make multiple false communications to potential investors, per the department. For instance, on one occasion, he did not pay out to investors because “releasing so much money all at once could cause a negative effect on financial systems throughout the world.” Karlsson also falsely represented that Eastern Metal Securities was working with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to prepare the way for a payout.
Karlsson is also accused of transferring victims’ funds to his personal bank accounts, which now appear to be tied up in real estate in Thailand.
Karlsson made his initial federal court appearance Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim, who ordered Karlsson detained. The next hearing is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22. If convicted, Karlsson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine for the wire fraud and securities fraud charges, and 20 years in prison and a $500,000 maximum fine for the money laundering charge, per the announcement.