U.S. Citizen Extradited from Costa Rica to Face Wire Fraud Charges
David Butler Used a Manipulative Computer Software to Defraud Binary Options Investors of More than $5 Million
David Butler, a United States citizen, will be arraigned today on an Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud investors in a form of investment known as “binary options.” Butler was arrested in April 2022 in Costa Rica and extradited to the United States on July 14, 2022. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge James M. Wicks at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI) and Thomas M. Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI) announced the extradition.
“Using sophisticated computer software, the defendant and his co-conspirators allegedly cheated unsuspecting investors out of more than $5 million” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office is committed to working with our international partners to dismantle fraudulent schemes and bring perpetrators to justice wherever they are.”
Mr. Peace thanked the Costa Rican government for its assistance with the arrest and extradition.
“Butler allegedly swindled investors out of millions by selling false promises and later manipulating the numbers to the investors’ disadvantage. His alleged involvement in this complex fraud scheme has now landed him back in the U.S. to face the consequences of his illicit acts. Butler may have sold predetermined profits that turned out to be a sham, but his criminal arrest and prosecution are as real as it gets,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Fattorusso.
As alleged in court filings, between approximately January 2011 and October 2016, Butler and his co-conspirators operated binary options companies, including SpotFN, Binary FN and Janus Options (Binary Options Companies) from Glen Cove, New York, Costa Rica and Kosovo. The Binary Options Companies promised to pay investors, who were located throughout the United States, a predetermined profit based upon particular outcomes in the markets for securities, currencies and other investments. For example, the Binary Options Companies would offer to pay customers a predetermined profit if a particular security or currency was valued at a particular price on a particular day at a particular time.
To induce investments, Butler and his co-conspirators allegedly told binary options investors, in telephone calls and emails, that the predetermined profits that the Binary Options Companies had promised them in connection with the investors’ purchases of binary options would be based upon the actual prices of securities, currencies and other investments at particular points in time. Unbeknownst to the investors, however, Butler and his co-conspirators used a computer software that allowed the Binary Options Companies to manipulate data associated with the investors’ binary options so that the probability of investors earning a profit would favor the Binary Options Companies. At no time did Butler or any other employee of the Binary Options Companies inform the investors that the binary options that they had purchased from the Binary Options Companies could be manipulated to the investors’ disadvantage. As a result of their deception, Butler and his co-conspirators allegedly stole more than $5 million from binary options investors.
The charges in the Indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Bradley T. King is in charge of the prosecution. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Costa Rica to secure the arrest and extradition of Butler to the United States.
San Jose, Costa Rica
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-680 (JS)