Las Vegas Man Indicted For Defrauding 39 Persons In Investment Fraud Scheme
-Used Online Dating Websites and Craigslist to Meet Victims-
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A man who convinced persons to invest money with him by falsely representing himself to be a successful securities trader and investor, was indicted by the federal grand jury today for stealing almost $2 million from his victims, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
“Social media platforms are increasingly being used by persons with criminal intentions,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Be very cautious and investigate the background of persons who request your money with promises to invest it.”
Sean Christopher Sladek, 39, most recently of Henderson, Nev., and Liberty, Texas, is charged with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and criminal forfeiture. Sladek is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe on April 21, 2016, for an arraignment and plea. Sladek has been in federal custody since March 31, when he was arrested by the FBI at McCarran Airport.
According to the indictment, from about January 2011 to March 2016, Sladek allegedly solicited persons, including some he met through social media sites, such as online dating platforms Tinder and Bumble, and through Craigslist, for investment funds. Sladek falsely told the victims and potential victims that he was a successful securities trader and investor, and that he would invest any monies they gave him to earn positive returns on their investments. In fact, Sladek was not a successful investor or securities trader, and used the funds he received from the victims for gambling, personal expenses, and to enrich himself. When the victim investors complained to Sladek about non-payment of investment returns, Sladek gave numerous false excuses and reasons for why they had not been paid. The indictment states that on May 10, 2013, and September 12, 2014, Sladek received $100,000 from one victim in California and $40,000 from another victim in South Carolina, respectively, and, within one day of receiving those funds, he deposited cashier’s checks for almost the same amounts into two casino accounts in Las Vegas. Sladek did not pay investment returns to any known victim, and wrongfully obtained approximately $1.7 million from about 39 known victims.
If convicted, Sladek faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count and up to 10 years in prison on each money laundering count, as well as fines of up to $250,000 on each count.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jiamin Chen.
If you believe you are a victim of this offense, please contact your local FBI field office.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.