Investment Manager Who Fled During Trial Sentenced To 210 Months For Foreign Currency Fraud Scheme
Earlier today, Thomas Qualls, the President of International Foreign Currency, Inc., was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 210 months following his convictions for mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The proceeding was held before the Hon. Dora L. Irizarry, United States District Judge, at the United States Courthouse in Brooklyn. Judge Irizarry also imposed restitution of approximately $817,000.
During the fourth week of his trial, 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 the defendant’s absence, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts. Approximately six months later, Canadian authorities apprehended Qualls, and he remained in Canadian custody until he was extradited to the United States.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, U.S. Postal Inspector-in-Charge, New York Division.
“The defendant bilked his clients by stealing their hard-earned money, and when faced with the overwhelming evidence of his misdeeds presented to a jury of his peers, he fled the country,” said United States Attorney Lynch. “This case shows, once again, that you can run, but you cannot hide – we will continue to safeguard the markets by zealously prosecuting fund managers who betray the trust of investors.” 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.
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 Caribbean 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, controlled all the trading and all the company’s funds, and instructed them to provide false and misleading information to prospective investors. The defendant also created falsified account statements to conceal the fraud from investors. Ultimately, investors lost approximately $1 million as a result of the defendant’s scheme. The evidence at trial also established that Qualls participated in multiple prior fraudulent schemes.
The government's case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Spector.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.