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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Friday, October 13, 2017

Founder And Ceo Of Wright Time Capital Group Pleads Guilty To Commodities Fraud

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MICHAEL S. WRIGHT pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer to commodities fraud in connection with WRIGHT’s operation of an investment fund, Wright Time Capital Group (“WTCG”).  WRIGHT induced victims to invest in his fund by misrepresenting the historical trading performance of WTCG, and, after obtaining investor funds, misappropriated a large portion of them for his personal use and benefit.  Additionally, after losing most of the funds he actually invested in unsuccessful forex trades, WRIGHT hid those losses from investors by issuing fake account statements and began operating WTCG as a Ponzi scheme, obtaining funds from new investors and using those funds to make payments to earlier investors who were demanding the return of their investments. 


Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “Michael Wright used WTCG as his personal piggy bank, issuing fraudulent account statements that covered up the losses WTCG incurred, and ultimately operating WTCG as a Ponzi scheme.  Thanks to the dedicated work of the FBI, Wright will now be held to account for his fraudulent scheme.” 


According to the Complaint, the Indictment, and other statements made in open court:


WRIGHT started WTCG in January 2011, and ultimately obtained more than $400,000 in investments from victims (the “Victims”).  In his pitch to potential investors, WRIGHT misrepresented WTCG’s investment performance, falsely claiming that he had achieved double-digit gains through forex trading in WTCG’s first six months of existence.  In fact, from the outset of WTCG, WRIGHT earned little to no money through his forex trading, and WRIGHT repeatedly falsified account statements to the Victims.  Additionally, after obtaining Victim funds, WRIGHT did initially purchase some forex trades on their behalf, but then began to steal their money, using investor funds to pay for personal expenses, including hotel stays, travel, and tattoos. 


Eventually, WRIGHT operated WTCG as a Ponzi scheme, soliciting funds from new investors in order to use their funds to make payments to other Victims who were demanding the return of their investments.  


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WRIGHT, 30, of Rockville Centre, New York, pled guilty to one count of commodities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Judge.


WRIGHT is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Engelmayer on January 25, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.


Mr. Kim praised the efforts of the FBI in this investigation. 


This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorney Jacob Warren is in charge of the prosecution.

Press Release Number: 
Updated October 13, 2017