SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A Heber City man pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City Wednesday afternoon, admitting he tricked victims into investing in a fraudulent foreign currency day-trading business.
Prosecutors said Thomas Robbins, 65, got 66 investors to invest around $10 million in his scheme. They said he told them he had achieved high returns in his foreign day-trading business when in fact lost millions of dollars and diverted investor money for his own living expenses.
“This case presents a classic example of a Utah securities fraudster. Lie upon lie, he created an investment opportunity that drew in dozens of investors who ended up losing more than $10 million to Mr. Robbins – who is a swindler rather than a foreign currency day trader. For all intents and purposes, the money is gone and cannot be recovered for victims,” U.S. Attorney John Huber.
According to the plea agreement, Robbins admitted that he lied to investors in the scheme. The false representations included promising that people who invested with him would never lose more than 5 percent of the net equity in their trading account due to “stop loss” measures.
Robbins was formally charged with securities fraud and money laundering. The potential maximum sentence for securities fraud is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Money laundering carries a potential 10-year sentence and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing in the case is set for November.
Department of Justice officials said this Robbins’ second federal conviction for a fraud scheme. He was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison in June 2011 and ordered to pay $2,462,207 in restitution to victim investors after pleading guilty to conspiracy in another investment fraud scheme.