Thomas Qualls Extradited from Canada after Fleeing Trial
Thomas Qualls, an investment manager who fled to Canada during his 2008 fraud trial, appeared in federal court in Brooklyn today following his extradition to the United States last week. Qualls faces sentencing following his conviction for mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Qualls also faces a separate indictment charging him with bail jumping.1
The indictment and extradition were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Ronald J. Verrochio, U.S. Postal Inspector-in-Charge, New York Division.
On November 3, 2008, during the fourth week of his trial on charges stemming from an investment fraud scheme, Qualls failed to appear in court on the day closing arguments were scheduled to begin. After determining that Qualls had fled, the court resumed the trial in Qualls’s absence, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts on November 5, 2008. The government’s evidence at trial established that Qualls operated a fraudulent investment firm known as International Foreign Currency, Inc. (“IFC”) in Garden City, New York. Qualls and his co-conspirators purported to invest funds in foreign currency. Instead, Qualls stole investors’ funds and spent them on business and personal expenses, including a Carribean cruise, expenses for his pets, and payments on a Jaguar automobile. At the trial, multiple former IFC employees testified that the defendant was the head of the company, that he controlled all the trading and all the company’s funds, and that he instructed them to provide false and misleading information to prospective investors. The government’s evidence further established that the defendant created falsified account statements to conceal the fraud from investors. Ultimately, investors lost approximately $1 million as a result of the defendant’s scheme.
On March 17, 2009, Canadian authorities apprehended Qualls, and he remained in Canadian custody until he was extradited to the United States. Qualls faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years for each count of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
“Qualls hid the truth from his investors and spent their hard earned dollars on himself. Once his crimes were established at trial, he ran in an attempt to hide himself from the legal consequences of his actions. Through the combined efforts of law enforcement in the United States and Canada, this defendant was identified, pursued and successfully apprehended,” said United States Attorney Lynch. “His decision to flee during his trial served only to delay the inevitable, and now he must face the day of reckoning for the fraud and obstruction of justice for which he was convicted.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the United States Marshals Service and the Postal Inspection Service, as well as law enforcement authorities in Canada, for their assistance.
Postal Inspector-in-Charge Verrochio said, “When the defendant fled the United States, he underestimated the determination of the Postal Inspection Service and our federal counterparts to bring him to justice for this charged fraudulent investment scheme which resulted in significant losses.”
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Spector.
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