back to article Fake docs rock real docs: Ex-Wall St guy accused of conning medics out of £27m for bogus cryptocurrency fund using faked paperwork

Prosecutors have charged a man with wire fraud and money laundering after he allegedly raked in £27m ($35m) from a cryptocurrency scheme that largely targeted doctors. Michael Ackerman, 50, of Sheffield Lake, Ohio – who spent 16 years on Wall Street as a trader – was hit with the two criminal charges, as well as lawsuits from …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you could just arrest everyone running a "cryptocurrency investment operation" and get a 99.99% hit rate on them being fraudsters. It'd be more newsworthy to write an article titled "crypto investment scheme actually turns out to be legit" at this point!

    AC because cryptocurrency is a cult

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      I'm not going to disagree but the reality is that it's not just cryptocurrency investments, in the financial world this is much more common in everyday investment frauds and much bigger. The real issue is that governments everywhere claim that business is over-regulated, a problem that they claim they will fix but the frauds are generally only found by the victims, almost never the regulators who only get called in at the last minute to document the losses.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Came to say the same thing. There have been several recent cases in Brazil, and in some the companies just blame our version of the SEC for its strict rules.

      Unfortunately we have a long and proud history of this kind of fraud. Google (or Bing, if you're into this kind of thing) for TelexFree -- some of the crims are still free and one created yet another ponzi scheme, this time selling diamonds or similar.

      I can't blame the victims, but these guys spread their ads through rumour mills in Facebook and Whatsapp and.... churches' groups.

      AC because cryptocurrency *is* a cult. Most of TelexFree victims had a lot of money invested on the "company" and when the SEC closed it down they complained loudly about the evil government that didn't allowed them to quickly get rich.

      1. iron Silver badge

        > I can't blame the victims, but these guys spread their ads through rumour mills in Facebook and Whatsapp and.... churches' groups.

        I can. Facebook... Whatsapp... your church... none of them are a bank or financial advisor so they can't be trusted with your money. The ridiculous rates of return on schemes like this make them an obvious scam and there are numberous articles about similar scams online and in newspapers and magazines so anyone falling for these scams is a greedy idiot.

        Possessing a good education (like a doctor) does not prevent one being an idiot and the aforementioned church probably takes a dim view on greed too.

        1. Christoph Silver badge

          "your church... none of them are a bank or financial advisor so they can't be trusted with your money."

          Standard trick - use people who the victims know and trust, or are well known and respected in the community. That's the way people work - they assume it's not necessary to plough through all the checks because "X wouldn't lie to me".

          Classic example of running a Ponzi scheme in this way: Bernie Madoff

        2. Grooke

          "none of them are a bank or financial advisor so they can't be trusted with your money."

          To be fair, I barely trust a bank to hold my money.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "TelexFree"

        I had some colleagues who got involved into those pyramid scheme. As in this case, I was surprised because they were not uneducated people. Most of them had a university degree. Most of them moved by greed, albeit with an annual income not high as a doctor.

        I was very surprised when I found what was happening, because a pair attempted to recruit other people at the office. When I gave a look into what it was, I smelled a fraud immediately - it was so blatant! I called them into my office, and asked if they understood it was a fraud - which they denied vehemently.

        I told them they were free to lose their own money, but to keep that fully out of the office, don't try to promote and recruit anyone there, and don't use any of the company devices - or any connection to the company, for the matter - for anything related to Telexfree. They answered I had not the authority, I replied we could have it escalated to HR if they wished, and that was enough.

        Not long after the pyramid started to crumble. I don't know how much they gained or lost, and how many other people they deceived. None of them ever told me I was right - don't know, maybe some even hoped to make some quick bucks more before the fall...

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      cryptocurrency is a cult

      Abso-f***ing-lutely.

      If you want a perfect demonstration of this, it's worth giving "The Missing Crypto Queen" podcast on BBC Sounds a listen. I binge-listened at the weekend, and it was time well spent.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Added to my listening backlog, thanks.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I binge-listened at the weekend"

        I know the weather was bad but that seems like a pretty miserable way to spend a seekend.

        1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          'twas a fairly productive and enjoyable weekend as it happens....it's just that in the context of this conversation I didn't feel the need to list the various journeys I made and jobs that I got on with while the podcast was playing. That's the beauty of radio/podcasts - you can multitask a bit rather than being tied to a screen watching something.

  2. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Not to blame the victims but...

    Anyone offering 15% per month returns on anything is a fraudster.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Not to blame the victims but...

      Is that why the Nigerian prince won't respond to my emails?

      1. Imhotep

        Re: Not to blame the victims but...

        I heard that he had died, and that his house was found filled with cash he had been unable to give away.

    2. Phil Kingston

      Re: Not to blame the victims but...

      And offering 15% per month via Facebook takes balls.

  3. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

    No such thing as free money.

    See title.

  4. Dabooka

    A simply test for this kind of operation.

    Simply find-and-replace the word 'crypto' for 'magic beans' and then re-read.

    If after that it still sounds plausible, message me as I have a business venture you may wish to invest in.

    1. hakuli

      Re: A simply test for this kind of operation.

      It's not a bridge... is it?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: A simply test for this kind of operation.

        Nah, it’s Buck House. Queen Liz wants to ship Harry, Megan, Randy Andy, and three other nuisances to be named later, to Oz, that being as far away from England that she can get them, and the Aussie government wants a really big bribe to not only take them but keep them. The Aussies also said that if she wants to send BoJo, he’ll count as two, and Julie would be three unless they get a lot more money.

        1. Richocet Bronze badge

          Re: A simply test for this kind of operation.

          We don't want them. We're not a dumping ground for unpopular English people (anymore).

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: A simply test for this kind of operation.

            That’s why Liz needs to bribe the Aussie gov. The Kiwis asked for too much cash, Oz was more reasonable, apparently the thinking is that the nuisances can be used as drop bear bait, eliminating two problems at the same time..

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A simply test for this kind of operation.

        No, it's magic beans.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: A simply test for this kind of operation.

          I have some magic beans....

          When you grind them up and add hot water to them, they magically make me less inclined to murder people

      3. LDS Silver badge

        "It's not a bridge... is it?"

        The Scotland-Ireland one? It looks someone is selling one...

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: "It's not a bridge... is it?"

          BoJo needed a project even more insane than the Don de Maralago’s idiocy. It wasn’t easy, but he thought one up.

  5. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Any dentists?

    Could be some of the folks from Golden Fang

    (Inherent Vice, not _that_ FAANG)

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