IFW has filed civil lawsuit cases in Cyprus, on behalf of an Australian client, against a group of foreign nationals charged in a multimillion-dollar investment and impersonation scheme.
In addition to these civil proceedings, 10 defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aggravated identity theft, in connection with boiler rooms operated in multiple countries to defraud $6 million from victims around the world by impersonating prominent individuals and investment firms.
A coordinated transnational fight against financial crimes
Nicholas Russell James Gillie, Neophytos Georgiou, Scott Steven Neilson, Liam James Smout, Daniel Nielsen, Brenda Laverty, Andrew Georgiou, Thomas Andrew Kenny, and Jake Mardell were arrested between May and October 2021, while Urs Meisterhans, a Swiss national, remains at large in Switzerland as a fugitive from US justice.
Nicholas Russell James Gillie
Scott Steven Neilson
Liam James Smout
Thomas Andrew Kenny
“This case demonstrates to the world that IRS-CI and our many law enforcement partners continue to uncover and expose fraud wherever it may be located,” Thomas Fattorusso, IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge said. “We would like to specifically thank HSI, U.S. Postal Inspectors, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, as well as our International J5 partner agencies for their outstanding work in this case.”
The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5), is a global joint operational group combating transnational financial crimes. The group includes the Australian Taxation Office, the Canadian Revenue Agency, the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from the U.K. and IRS-CI from the U.S.
Indictment outlines sophisticated international fraud and money laundering scheme
The indictment unsealed on Tuesday 26th October alleges the defendants carried out a mass-marketing investment fraud scheme against English speaking investors in Australia, Europe and elsewhere.
Geordiou, it alleges, financed the scheme, which utilised a widely used internet search engine to distribute targeted advertisements, published fraudulent news articles, and created fraudulent websites, email addresses and contracts, among other tactics, to convince victims of the firm’s legitimacy. Telemarketing calls were also carried out from so-called “boiler rooms” in Cyprus, Spain, Romania, and Cambodia, where victims were convinced to invest in various companies, including the purchase of pre-IPO shares in a young, relatively new, and successful international company.
Investments were then allegedly laundered by Meisterhans and distributed to conspirators as salary or commission.
U.S. extradition pending for alleged fraudsters
Daniel Nielsen was extradited from Romania to the United Stated in September 2021. Extradition remains pending for the remaining defendants, while Meisterhans continues to evade arrest.
The indictment and press release from the United States Department of Justice can be read in full here.