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Press Release

Jefferson County man pleads guilty to federal crimes related to $4.9 million investment fraud scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Toronto, Ohio, man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here today to crimes related to a multi-million investment scheme that victimized at least 65 individuals.

William T. Caniff, Jr., 54, admitted to committing wire fraud and money laundering.

According to court documents, Caniff executed an investment scheme through a business he helped establish called Berkley Capital Management, LLC purportedly to trade binary options.

Binary options are a type of options contract in which the payout depends on the outcome of a yes/no proposition. For example, a person may invest in a binary option related to whether a company’s stock reaches a certain value, but the binary option does not give the investor any property interest in the company’s stock itself.

From March 2016 through December 2018, Caniff’s investment funds received more than $4.9 million from investors, most of whom were Dutch nationals. Caniff misappropriated approximately $2.3 million of the investors’ funds for his own personal benefit like the purchase a residence, car payments and credit card payments.

Caniff used new investments to make payments to past investors and invested only $85,000 in binary options.

As part of his scheme, Caniff fraudulently obtained membership to the North American Derivatives Exchange, Inc. (Nadex), an online binary-options exchange headquartered in Chicago. He lied about having been convicted of multiple felonies to be approved as a Trading Member on Nadex.

Parties involved in this case have recommended a sentence of 30 months in prison. As part of the plea, Caniff has agreed to pay approximately $2.3 million in restitution.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Karen Wingerd, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); announced the guilty plea entered today before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.

The United States Attorney’s Office and IRS-Criminal Investigation thanked the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigative Service and the Dutch Ministry of Justice for their assistance in the investigation. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance.

Assistant United States Attorney Peter K. Glenn-Applegate and Deputy Criminal Chief Jessica W. Knight are representing the United States in this case.

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Updated March 8, 2024

Financial Fraud