The owner of a Chicago company that claimed to buy and sell commodities has been indicted on six counts of securities fraud that claim he used a Ponzi scheme operation to obtain $1.5 million from investors.
Fifty-three-year-old Christopher Varlesi was hit with the mail and wire fraud charges that allege he misappropriated a substantial portion of investor funds for extravagant purchases, such as covering a year’s worth of rent at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.
The securities fraud charges claim that Varlesi made false representations to investors about his company – Gold Coast Futures & Forex – and its ability to safely to trade gold, commodity futures, and foreign currency for a certain expected return of five to 7.5 percent interest per month. In reality, he and his company were never properly licensed to trade investor money.
Varlesi was able to convince 15 investors to get involved with his company and obtained $1.4 million in funding. Of that, he used $99,750 for personal expenses without informing investors. Instead, notes sent to investors falsely guaranteed that everything their money was being properly invested.
In total, investors in Varlesi’s scheme lost $600,000 by the time it was put to a stop. In addition to seeking restitution of the lost investments, each count of wire and mail fraud that Varlesi is charged with carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If you or a loved one has been taken advantage of by a Ponzi scheme, call Sokolove Law today to learn more about pursuing a securities fraud lawsuit. For legal help, call (800) 581-6358.