Advance Fee Scheme Promoter Gets 14 Years in Prison for Fraud

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A promoter of a so-called “advance fee scheme” has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for his part in an investment fraud scam that cheated investors out of approximately $5.7 million.

According to an unsealed indictment, James Leonard Smith of Virginia was part of an advance fee scheme through purported investment company Chimera Group, which was based in the UK. Advance fee schemes typically involve promoters who promise to pay a sum of money at a later date in exchange for an upfront advance payment. The object is to entice individuals and businesses that are unable to raise money through conventional financing into giving money by promising large payouts that will solve their financial problems.

Promoters of this kind of scheme often use fabricated bank documents, such as a fraudulent standby letter of credit, which is offered to victims to obtain large sums of money. The scammers usually…

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