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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Self-Styled Diamond And Gold Exporter Convicted Of Wire Fraud And Commodities Fraud

Dual U.S./Swiss Citizen Convicted of Fraudulently Soliciting Millions In Investment Scheme To Purportedly Export Diamonds and Gold From Africa

SAN JOSE— A federal jury convicted Fritz Kramer of wire fraud and commodities fraud today in connection with a fraudulent export scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  The guilty verdict follows a six-week jury trial before the Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Judge.

The jury found Kramer, 70, with a last known residence in Norway, guilty of eleven counts of wire fraud and one count of commodities fraud.  The evidence at trial showed that from December 2008 through July 2016, Kramer fraudulently solicited funds from investors, stating that he was a gold and diamond exporter.  Kramer told his victims that their money would be invested in an “export project” in which Kramer would purchase gold and diamonds from the Democratic Republic of Congo and have them exported to Europe, Asia, and the United States.  Kramer falsely promised investors that they would receive up to ten times the amount of money they invested and that the profits could be earned in as little as one month.  Based upon Kramer’s false representations, more than three dozen victims were convinced to send money, totaling millions of dollars, to entities purportedly operating the bogus export project.  The evidence at trial demonstrated that no return on investment was ever received by any of the investors.    

On July 12, 2018, a federal grand jury handed down a superseding indictment charging Kramer with eleven counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and one count of commodities fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1348.  The jury convicted Kramer on all counts.

The defendant is currently in custody pending sentencing.  Judge Davila scheduled Kramer’s sentencing hearing for July 15, 2019.  For each count of wire fraud, Kramer faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.  Kramer also faces a maximum statutory penalty of 25 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for the commodities fraud count.  In addition, Judge Davila may order Kramer to serve an additional term of supervised release.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maia Perez and Jeff Nedrow are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Susan Kreider and Nina Burney-Williams.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.       
 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated March 20, 2019