Former Malibu Resident Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Prison for Conning Investors with Bogus Promises of Discounted Alibaba IPO Shares
SANTA ANA, California – A convicted felon who allegedly posed as an experienced Wall Street stock trader has been charged with running a securities scam that caused victim investors to lose approximately $3.1 million, the Justice Department announced today.
Christopher Anthony Slaga, 50, a.k.a. “Keith Renko,” was charged with eight counts of wire fraud in an indictment filed on August 2. Slaga is currently a fugitive being sought by authorities.
According to the indictment, from at least March 2018 through this year, Slaga operated several companies, including JMC 4 Group LLC and Q4 Capital Group LLC, that purportedly trading businesses that implemented “different strategies for long-term and short-term gains” through “a bifurcated trading approach.” In addition to being the president and CEO of these companies, Slaga – using his “Keith Renko” alias – purportedly ran JMC 4 and Q4 Capital’s East Coast operations and trading desk before establishing a West Coast office and a trading desk in Newport Beach.
Using private placement memoranda (PPM) – securities disclosure forms issued by companies engaging in private securities offerings – as well as websites, emails and telephone calls, Slaga allegedly solicited individual investors to make capital commitments of at least $25,000 to his companies, falsely telling them that he was running a hedge fund for lay people.
Slaga promised victims he would use their money to invest in a broad range of securities by using a proprietary computer-based quantitative and statistical algorithm through brokerage accounts at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, the indictment alleges. His purported investment objective was to “maximize total return on capital by seeking capital appreciation,” according to the indictment.
In each of the PPMs, Slaga allegedly falsely claimed he personally made capital investments of at least $2 million into his companies, and that he was a “seasoned trader,” who previously worked at Merrill Lynch and who was a Dartmouth College graduate.
Slaga allegedly failed to disclose as required to investors that in 2003 he was convicted of wire fraud in the Southern District of Texas, was sentenced to four years in federal prison, and was ordered to pay $19,665,300 in restitution.
Slaga allegedly never invested the victim investors’ money in JMC 4 and Q4 Capital. Instead, he used it to repay other investors, pay commissions, and for his own personal expenses, such as rent, loan and credit card payments, personal stock trading, and private school payments, according to the indictment. He allegedly also produced bogus documentation purportedly from Deloitte, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to show investors false holdings and fabricated returns.
In total, Slaga caused 13 investors to lose approximately $3.1 million, according to the indictment.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted of all charges, Slaga would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday filed a lawsuit against Slaga in connection with the alleged scheme to defraud investors.
The FBI is investigating this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Waier of the Santa Ana Branch Office is prosecuting this case.
Public Information Officer