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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Investors Of $2 Million In Iraqi Dinar Fraud Scheme

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that WILLIAM BURANK pled guilty today to defrauding investors in a scheme in which he solicited funds based on false and fraudulent pretenses to purportedly invest in dinar, the currency of Iraq.  Upon obtaining the funds, BURBANK either lost or misappropriated them, and then lied to investors about the state of their investments.  BURBANK pled guilty to wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Katharine H. Parker.  

 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said:  “William Burbank’s fraud is one of the oldest frauds in the book – using his investors’ money to pay back other investors while lining his own pockets.  Burbank has now copped to his crimes and faces time in prison for his misdeeds.”

 

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment filed against BURBANK, and statements made in related court filings and proceedings:

 

From February 2010 through June 2018, BURBANK engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme to defraud more than 150 individual investors, including many U.S. military veterans and their families, of $2 million by soliciting funds through false and fraudulent pretenses.  Specifically, BURBANK falsely claimed to potential investors that their funds would be used to trade in off-exchange foreign currency, namely, to purchase quantities of the Iraqi dinar, through an Iraqi bank headquartered in Bagdad.  In truth and in fact, upon receiving investor funds, BURBANK used those funds to trade in his own brokerage accounts, to make payments to earlier investors, and for his personal expenses, among other things.  Additionally, during the course of his scheme, BURBANK hid from investors the fact that he had misappropriated and lost their funds.  In order to conceal the truth from investors, BURBANK provided them false information regarding the status of their investment, and engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme in which he used money obtained from new investors to make redemption payments to previous investors.

 

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WILLIAM BURBANK, 63, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 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.

 

BURBANK will be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman on July 22, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.

 

U.S. Attorney Berman praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

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

Topic(s): 
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 
19-100
Updated March 27, 2019