Founder of Swiss Brokerage Firm Charged in Global Securities Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – The founder and operator of a Swiss asset management firm was arrested today on charges of engaging in a massive global securities fraud scheme that netted trading proceeds of approximately $164 million.
Roger Knox, 47, a resident of the United Kingdom, was charged by criminal complaint with securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Knox was detained following an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley.
The complaint alleges that from June 2015 until the present, Knox and co-conspirators operated a purported asset management firm based in Switzerland called Silverton, and later renamed Wintercap. Through this business, Knox allegedly helped facilitate pump-and-dump and other market manipulation schemes by selling massive quantities of microcap securities on behalf of “control groups” who secretly owned the stock through nominee shareholders, and who simultaneously orchestrated promotional campaigns and other efforts to artificially inflate the price and trading volume of those shares. The complaint alleges that Knox then funneled the proceeds of the securities fraud—totaling an estimated $164 million—to coconspirators in the United States and elsewhere through a complex money transfer system that disguised the source and nature of the funds.
In a parallel action, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Boston announced civil charges against Knox today.
The charge of securities fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $5 million. The charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or gross loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The SEC provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen of Lelling’s Economic Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.