Alpharetta Man Sentenced For Investment Fraud
ATLANTA - Robert A. Christy has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for stealing investor funds in a currency trading fraud scheme.
“This defendant defrauded victims from across the country and, like many investment fraudsters, he preyed on seniors, retirees, and others simply looking for safe and secure returns,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. “In the end, his fraud was revealed and he has been held accountable for his actions.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “While it is easy to dismiss such financial fraud cases as being almost benign because of their lack of violence, there is, however, a very real victimization felt and lives are changed forever. At the end of the day, the sentencing of Mr. Christy to federal prison is really a small token of justice to those many victims who have suffered so much from his criminal activities.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From 2008 until approximately April 2012, Christy portrayed his firm, Crabapple Capital Group LLC, as a reputable and well-established investment firm, claiming that Crabapple profitably traded currency since 2006 and was affiliated with a larger investment firm, which purportedly had over $50 million in assets under management. Christy advertised a “conservative” currency trading investment strategy that targeted annual returns of approximately eight percent with a low risk of loss. Christy gave prospective customers marketing literature, including a formal disclosure document and monthly bulletins, which showed from 2006 to 2011: (a) average annual returns ranging from 15 percent to 20 percent; (b) 55 profitable months compared to only 10 unprofitable ones; and (c) the highest monthly losses reaching only negative 0.74 percent.
This performance history was fraudulent however, as Christy's actual trading records show consistent and significant losses from 2006 to 2011. Christy's claim that Crabapple was affiliated with a larger investment firm with $50 million in assets was also false. Christy recruited the majority of his investors during trade shows in Las Vegas, Nev. and Orlando, Fla., and through his affiliation with Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts college in Grove City, Penn. Christy, who is an alumnus of Grove City College, marketed himself as a Christian investor and solicited funds from Grove City College students, students’ families, and a faculty member.
To perpetuate his fraud scheme, Christy prepared and distributed false monthly account statements that fraudulently showed investors earning monthly profits on their investments, even in months when Christy was losing money in all his firm's trading accounts. Christy defrauded at least 20 investors who invested over $1.4 million dollars. Instead of using investors’ money to trade currency, Christy used it to pay for, among other things, travel, jewelry, restaurant meals, and other personal expenses, and made payments to members of his own family. In total, Christy stole over $1 million dollars.
Christy, 58, of Alpharetta, Ga., has been sentenced to four years, nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,148,234.81. Christy was convicted of wire fraud on July 24, 2014, after he pleaded guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Brown prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.