Florida man pleads guilty to wire fraud for scheme to defraud investors with claims of successful commodities trading
Solicited more than $1 million in investments – used more than $280,000 for own expenses
Seattle – A Cocoa Beach, Florida, man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to wire fraud in connection with his million-dollar scheme to pose as a successful commodities trader, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. MATTHEW WHITE, 27, accepted $1.29 million in investments from family and friends promising big gains. In truth, little was invested, and the profits were non-existent. WHITE used more than $281,000 of the invested money for his personal expenses. U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik scheduled sentencing for April 10, 2020.
According to the plea agreement, between 2011 and 2018, WHITE solicited funds from investors in Florida and Washington State. WHITE represented that he would use the money to successfully trade in futures contracts first under his own name, and later under the name of his company, M.W. Global Futures LLC, of which he was the sole member. WHITE claimed to have expertise as a commodities trader, with special training. He also claimed to be a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. All of these claims were false.
WHITE provided promotional materials that claimed his trading would provide a high return on investment. In October 2017, he sent one elderly investor a brochure claiming a return on investment in excess of 16% annually. Once he got their funds, WHITE sent investors statements purporting to show substantial trading activity and profits. The statements also showed WHITE’s commissions, which were allegedly tied to the level of profits. WHITE sent some of these fictitious statements via email, constituting wire fraud. Very little of the money was actually traded in investment accounts, and the investments that were traded resulted in losses.
Of the $1.29 million, WHITE repaid approximately $425,000 as redemptions and purported profits during the scheme. In November 2018, WHITE was contacted by investigators from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He then repaid an additional $602,000 to two victims. Under the terms of the plea agreement, WHITE owes the remaining $281,970 in restitution to his victims.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The ultimate sentence will be determined by the Court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Division of Enforcement of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Diggs.