LOS ANGELES – An Inland Empire man who operated a fraudulent foreign currency exchange investment house and who arranged for an unauthorized wire transfer from a Pennsylvania car dealership was sentenced today to 108 months in federal prison, and to pay $1,303,307 in restitution.
Malachai Levy – who was born Ralph Maurice Metters, but recently legally changed his name – 38, of Corona, was sentenced today by United States District Judge John F. Walter.
While imposing the nine-year prison term, Judge Walter said that Levy was “the definition of a classic con man,” and noted that the defendant conspired to commit credit card fraud over jail telephones that he knew were being monitored while he was awaiting sentencing in the wire fraud case.
Levy pleaded guilty in January 2015 to conspiring to commit wire fraud and admitted both the fraudulent wire transfer and defrauding investors who thought their money would be used in connection with foreign currency investments with various companies, including Omni Finance and Mo Betta Advisors.
In relation to the fraudulent wire transfer, an unknown person hijacked the online banking profile of an account belonging to a Lexus dealership in Haverford, Pennsylvania, according to documents filed in this case. An online request was made in 2013 that resulted in a fraudulent wire transfer of $556,375 to Levy’s Omni Finance account in California.
In relation to the fraudulent investment scheme, in 2013 the owner of a Tennessee bakery business invested $500,000 with Levy, who promised that the money would be used to make foreign currency trades. Even though the investment was supposed to remain in an escrow account, the money was soon disbursed after Levy submitted notarized paperwork with the victim’s forged signature.
“This defendant’s criminal conduct was widespread and demonstrates an aversion to leading a law-abiding life,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This lengthy prison sentence is the result of various schemes and hopefully will allow Mr. Levy time to consider the benefits of following the law.”
The case against Levy is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service and the Hawthorne Police Department.