Fraudulent Day Trader Sentenced to 27 Months in Federal Prison
Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, and Doug Coombs Special Agent-in-Charge of the United States Secret Service for Nevada, announced that ALEJANDRO "ALEX" J. SARDINIA was sentenced on Monday, September 16, 2002, in the United States District Court in Las Vegas to 27 months in prison for his conviction on federal wire fraud charges. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Larry R. Hicks.
SARDINIA, a 38-year-old Las Vegas resident, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas in September 2000, and pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May 2002. Between about August 1999 and February 2000, in Las Vegas, Nevada, SARDINIA fraudulently obtained money from victims by representing that he was an experienced day-trader and would pool their money to invest in stocks. SARDINIA was not a licensed stockbroker in Nevada, and acted with the intent to deceive and cheat the investor-victims. SARDINIA induced a small group of victims to invest about $1 million in his venture called "Momentum Investments, LLC," directing them to transfer large sums of money into his brokerage accounts. SARDINIA invested and lost about $357,000 in high-risk and technological stocks. SARDINIA misappropriated most of the funds for his personal use by gambling large sums of money in Las Vegas casinos and purchasing jewelry and other items for himself and family. To evade detection, SARDINIA sent false statements to his victims indicating that he was earning profits in the stock market.
At sentencing, SARDINIA pleaded for leniency, explaining that he gambled with the investors' money in casinos in order to make up for losses in the stock market. Most of SARDINIA's victims were friends of his mother. One was an elderly woman who invested and lost her life-savings of over $200,000.
Judge Hicks sentenced SARDINIA to 27 months in prison, ordered that he be placed on three years of supervised release following his release from prison, and ordered him to pay $867,638 in restitution to the victims of his offense. Following the sentencing hearing and upon order of the Court, the defendant, who had been released on bond since the time of the Indictment, was immediately placed in the custody of the United States Marshal Service.
Don't be a victim of investment fraud. Nevada law requires investment advisors, investment advisor representatives, and securities brokers to be registered by the state. Check out the background of an advisor or broker BEFORE YOU INVEST, by calling the State of Nevada Secretary of State Securities Division. In Las Vegas contact them at 702-486-2440; call them toll-free 800-758-6440; or find them online at www.sos.state.nv.us/securities/.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the United States Secret Service, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Stanish.