Fugitive Investment Firm Operator Indicted for Running $100 Million Ponzi Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan
DETROIT - The operator of a supposed foreign exchange trading firm has been indicted on eleven counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in connection with his alleged operation of a Ponzi scheme that stole $100 million from investors, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.
Ison was joined in the announcement by Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Charles Miller, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.
Darren Anthony Robinson, 53, is a U.S. citizen who previously operated out of the country of Panama. After he was previously charged in a criminal complaint in this matter and released on bond, Robinson is alleged to have improperly removed his GPS tether and become a fugitive. Robinson is currently wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Individuals with information regarding Robinson’s whereabouts are encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-Call-FBI (1-800-225-5324), your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
According to the indictment and other court records, Robinson operated a supposed trading firm known as “QYU,” which was located in Panama and the Cayman Islands. QYU represented to investors that it was consistently generating stellar investment results. For example, in one QYU document, the firm claimed that a $100,000 investment into its fund in 2014 would have grown to over $2 million by 2021. That same document claimed the fund did not have a single losing month over that same period. QYU investors were promised guaranteed returns and told the firm was only paid on trading profits, not investor principal.
It is alleged that QYU was simply a Ponzi scheme and investor funds were largely not used for trading activity. Instead, new investor funds were used to pay other investor distributions, cover QYU business expenses, compensate QYU employees, and fund Robinson’s lifestyle. QYU investors were provided with false account statements and fictious trading data. Court records indicate that QYU obtained an estimated $100 million from investors.
Law enforcement has identified many apparent QYU investors from southeast Michigan. Potential victims are encouraged to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.fbi.gov/QYU_holdings_victims (Please note that the link to the website is case sensitive).
“Our resolve is to bring Darren Robinson to account for his alleged multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme with victims around the world,” said Special Agent in Charge Cheyvoryea Gibson of the FBI in Michigan. “I would like to thank the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, our international partners, and all the law enforcement agencies dedicated to achieving justice in this case. Investment fraud can be crippling for its victims, and the FBI is committed to identifying and working with anyone impacted by Robinson’s scheme.”
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The defendant faces up to twenty years in prison on each charge of wire fraud and up to 10 years in prison on the charge of money laundering.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Yahkind.
Updated January 16, 2024
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud