News and Press Releases

Former Michigan Stockbroker Is Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison for Mail Fraud

August 8, 2011

Lawrence E. Chia, 50, a citizen of Singapore, formerly of Troy, Michigan, was sentenced today to forty months in prison, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Chia previously pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud on December 2, 2010 before United States District Judge Victoria Roberts.

The evidence presented to the court at the time of the plea established that from approximately 1997 through July 2002, Chia, then a stockbroker operating in Troy, took approximately $2 million from fifteen investors after falsely representing to them that he would invest their money in shares of a fictitious bond fund which he called “Crystal Sky.” Instead of investing any funds, Chia used the money to pay his personal expenses, including trading in his own investment account. After he took investor funds, Chia fraudulently assured investors that their money was invested in the Crystal Sky bond fund by mailing them fictitious “subscription” statements.

"Investors should be careful to scrutinize statements to ensure that money is invested as promised," McQuade said. "Some brokers take advantage of unsuspecting investors."

Special Agent Arena stated, “Today's swindlers artfully conceal their greed with sophisticated marketing and numerous misrepresentations. Investors must remain diligent in following their money."

United States Attorney McQuade thanked the FBI for its investigation of the case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul Burakoff and Michael J. Riordan.



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