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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Founder Of Purported Investment Company Charged With Commodities Fraud And Wire Fraud

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the filing of a criminal complaint charging MICHAEL WRIGHT with commodities fraud and wire fraud in connection with WRIGHT’s operation of an investment company, Wright Time Capital Group (“WTCG”). WRIGHT is alleged to have misrepresented to investors the trading performance of WTCG, and, after acquiring investor funds, misappropriating a large portion of those funds for his personal benefit. Additionally, after losing most of the funds he actually invested in foreign currency (“forex”) transactions, WRIGHT allegedly began operating WTCG as a Ponzi scheme, using funds obtained from investors to make payments to other investors. WRIGHT was arrested this morning and will be presented before the U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott later today.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, Michael Wright used his investment company as a personal piggy bank and issued fraudulent account statements to cover up foreign exchange trading losses, ultimately operating a classic Ponzi scheme. Thanks to the dedicated work of the FBI, Wright's alleged scheme has been brought to an end and he will now be held to account.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Wright allegedly lured investors to Wright Time Capital Group by falsely representing his trading performance. Most of the currency received was used for his personal benefit; some of it was actually invested in foreign currency transactions. But when this money was eventually lost, he created another layer in his litany of crimes—a Ponzi scheme. For anyone who thinks they can manipulate people’s investments in this way, we remind you today that’s simply not the case.”

According to the Complaint[1]:

WRIGHT started WTCG in January 2011, and ultimately obtained more than $400,000 from various investors (the “Victims”). While WRIGHT did initially conduct some forex trades on behalf of the Victims, he then began to steal their money, using it to cover his personal expenses, including hotel and travel expenses. From the outset of WTCG, WRIGHT misrepresented to WTCG’s investors the gains he had achieved. WRIGHT claimed in statements to Victims that he had achieved double-digit gains for them through forex trading in WTCG’s first six months of existence. In reality, however, WRIGHT earned little to no money through his forex trading. WRIGHT also operated WTCG as a Ponzi scheme by using the Victims’ funds to make payments to other Victims who were demanding the return of their investments.

* * *

WRIGHT, 30, of Rockville Centre, New York, was arrested this morning in New Jersey. WRIGHT was charged with commodities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and wire fraud, which carries a maximumsentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

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.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Press Release Number: 
17-187
Updated June 22, 2017