North Carolina Man Charged with Wire Fraud, Securities Fraud, and Money Laundering in Connection with Ponzi Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – A North Carolina man was charged today for defrauding at least 25 people by operating a Ponzi scheme, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
David Schamens, 64, of Greensboro, North Carolina, is charged by complaint with one count each of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. He is scheduled to have his initial court appearance in Newark federal court on March 8, 2022.
According to the criminal complaint and statements made in court:
Starting in 2014, Schamens fraudulently solicited investments in various entities he controlled, including TD Trading LLC, TFG Trading LLC, TradeStream Analytics LTD, Tradedesk Financial Group Inc. and others, under the promise of annual rates of return of 12 percent to 30 percent. In 2019, Schamens began to solicit investment in Tradestream Algo Fund, an algorithm-based trading pool that he claimed to have developed. In each instance, Schamens directed investors to wire funds directly or to transfer portions of their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to bank accounts he controlled.
Once invested, Schamens often moved victim funds through several different bank accounts before he ultimately used the funds for some non-investment related purpose. Schamens took several steps to keep his customers’ trust, including: sending false account statements; posting false monthly account statements to his companies’ websites showing balances for trading accounts that did not exist; and sending false tax documents reporting earnings that did not exist.
Schamens allegedly misappropriated at least $6.8 million from at least 25 different individuals, using some of that money to repay earlier investors in the manner of a Ponzi scheme, and to pay for his personal expenses, including the purchase of a house, payments for a luxury car, and other personal expenses.
The count of wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The count of securities fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 25 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. The count of money laundering carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, under the direction of Director Gurbir S. Grewal, for its role in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sophie E. Reiter and Anthony Torntore of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cyber Crime Unit.
The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.