News and Press Releases

California Man Gets 51 Months for "Trans-World" and "Listro Holdings" Investment and Securities Fraud Scam

February 3, 2003

Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, Ellen B. Knowlton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for Nevada, Byram Tichenor, Special Agent-in-Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation for Nevada and Utah, and Dean Heller, Nevada Secretary of State, announce that JAMES WILLIAMS, age 54, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced in United States District Court in Las Vegas today to 51 months in federal prison for his role in a multi-million dollar investment and securities fraud scheme based out of Incline Village and Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as Nassau, Bahamas. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan, who also ordered WILLIAMS to pay a $5,634,240 fine and serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison.

Between September 1998 and May 1999, JAMES WILLIAMS, and co-conspirators TRUDY ANSON and RANDE HERSH, operated companies in Incline Village, Nevada, called Trans-World Investments, Inc. and Trans-World International, L.L.C.. In May 1999, the offices relocated to 2902 Lake East Drive, in Las Vegas. Trans-World offered investors access to a non-existent High-Yield Investment Program which promised profits of 30 percent per month, compounded over ten months. Most of the investors were told that the monies were invested in a trading program which consisted of the buying and selling of international bank notes issued by European banks such as Rothchilds in Luxembourg. This is what is commonly known as a "Prime Bank" scheme.

In May 1999, after the Nevada Secretary of State Securities Division filed a Cease and Desist order against the Trans-World operation for the fraudulent sale of unregistered securities, the defendants continued, through January 2000, to offer investors access to the fraudulent investment program through a new company called Listro Holdings, Ltd, which they registered in Nassau, Bahamas. The only disbursements ever made to the investors were monthly investor dividend payments to appease investor concern and to promote the fraudulent activity. All other investments were transferred to interests controlled by the defendants. A large portion of the investment proceeds were moved to an off-shore account in the Bahamas. In order to conceal the source of the funds, defendant WILLIAMS, who pleaded guilty to Money Laundering charges on September 6, 2002, purchased high-end motorcycle inventory for a Las Vegas business called "Xotic Motors", which he operated with defendant HERSH. WILLIAMS also admitted to failing to file his individual federal income tax returns and attempting to evade approximately$150,000 in income tax owed for the calendar years 1999 and 2000. 
Minimum investments in the trading programs were $100,000. Investors were told that their principal was insured by Lloyd's of London, and were provided fictitious assignments of interest prepared by the defendants on their office computer in an insurance policy which in fact did not exist.
Co-defendant, TRUDY ANSON, age 54, of Lytle Creek, California, pleaded guilty on December 16, 2002, to felony charges of Conspiracy and Wire Fraud, and will be sentenced in Las Vegas on March 14, 2003. Co-defendant HERSH tragically killed himself and his girlfriend in September 2002, in Los Angeles, California.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Nevada Secretary of State Securities Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Roberts.

If you have information concerning investment fraud or have been a victim of investment fraud, contact the FBI at (702) 385-1281 in Las Vegas, Nevada, or at (775) 825-6600 in Reno, Nevada. Report investment fraud immediately, despite any embarrassment or fear you may feel. Nevada law requires most securities and the people selling them to be registered by the state. Check them out with the Nevada Securities Division BEFORE YOU INVEST by calling (702) 486-2440 in Las Vegas or toll-free (800) 758-6440.

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