Husband And Wife Arrested And Charged With Ponzi Scheme In Relation To Hedge Fund Investments In Foreign Currencies
NEWARK, N.J. – The owners and operators of a purported hedge fund will appear in court today on charges that they defrauded more than two dozen investors by making extraordinary guarantees about investment returns and then used the money for extravagant purchases and to pay off other victims, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Alcibiades Cifuentes, 33, and his wife, Jennifer Wee Cifuentes, 35, both of West New York, New Jersey, were arrested by U.S. Postal Inspectors and criminal investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s office and charged by complaint with commodities fraud and mail fraud. They are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court.
According to the criminal complaint:
Alicbiades and Jennifer Wee Cifuentes allegedly engaged in an investment fraud scheme from 2012 through March 2015. They fraudulently induced victims to invest in the foreign currency and commodity markets through Cifuentes Fund Management (CFM), their hedge fund that purportedly invested in foreign currencies, and then almost immediately spent those investment funds on personal items, such as an Audi R8 and jewelry. The couple would then pay back a portion of the victims’ money with money received from newly duped victims. They allegedly defrauded approximately 25 victims of approximately $590,000.
The count of mail fraud with which the defendants are each charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the scheme. The count of commodities fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Services under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Cynthia Shoffner, and criminal investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, for the investigation leading to the arrests. He also thanked the N.J. Bureau of Securities in the State Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs, under the direction of Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy and Bureau Chief Laura H. Posner, as well as the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement, under the direction of Director Aitan Goelman, for their respective roles in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit.