Manager of Bogus Foreign Currency Exchange Ponzi Scheme Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice
WASHINGTON - Teresa Vogt, a resident of Anaheim, Calif., pleaded guilty on Sept. 15, 2009, to one count of obstruction of justice before U.S. District Court Judge Dale S. Fischer in Los Angeles, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.
Vogt and eight co-defendants were indicted in May 2005 on tax fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and other charges related to the operation of the Genesis Fund. According to the indictment, Vogt and her co-defendants operated the fund, a bogus foreign currency exchange investment fund that operated as a Ponzi scheme from May 1998 to June 2002. The Genesis Fund received millions of dollars of investments.
The defendants, as well as Genesis Fund literature, falsely claimed that investors received returns of 4% monthly; however, investments were actually used to make "profit" distributions to the defendants and early investors. Vogt worked as the fund’s primary administrator and later as its manager.
According to the plea agreement, Vogt has agreed to cooperate with the government and is expected to testify at a trial of her co-defendants. Vogt admitted that she and others received a grand jury subpoena and that some records which should have been produced were not. Specifically, Vogt and others shipped nineteen boxes of documents to Costa Rica and did not produce these records to the government.
Vogt faces a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a $250,000 fine. Judge Fischer set the sentencing for March 22, 2010.
The trial of the remaining five defendants on tax fraud and conspiracy charges is set to begin before Judge Fischer on Oct. 21, 2009. A second trial on additional charges related to the Ponzi scheme is scheduled to begin in March 2010.
In August 2009, co-defendant Victor Preston, an attorney, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States in relation to the scheme. According to the plea agreement, Preston, formerly of Costa Rica, admitted to assisting two investors in the Genesis Fund evade income taxes related to the sale of their business. Preston further admitted that he did not accurately report all of his individual income on his tax returns.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Justice Department’s Tax Division thanked the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division who investigated the case, as well as Tax Division trial attorneys Lori A. Hendrickson, Ellen M. Quattrucci and Danny N. Roetzel who are prosecuting the case. Mr. DiCicco also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for their assistance in the prosecution.