US prosecutors have accused the owner of Blackbox Pulse, branded as Unique Forex, Thomas Lanzana, 51, of running a 1.1 million forex Ponzi scam by soliciting deposits from at least 45 clients to invest in what he claimed were “highly successful, algorithm-based trading pools in foreign currency derivatives” (forex) and other financial instruments.
He also presented himself as a highly successful veteran trader, while he was not a professional in the forex field at all.
In order to perpetuate his scheme, Lanzana send his clients false account statements and posted false monthly account statements on his corporate website with balances sometimes exceeding 800 000 USD, featuring forex trading accounts that simply did not exist.
Lanzana also sent false tax documents to customers reporting earnings that did not exist as well.
The scammer took for himself at least 350 000 USD, using some of the other cash to repay earlier investors in a classical Ponzi scheme style.
The counts of wire fraud with which Lanzana is now indicted come with a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a 1 million USD fine.
The count of commodities fraud comes with a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a 1 million USD fine as well, or twice the gross gain or loss, as the court decides.