LOS ANGELES – An accountant was sentenced right now to 51 months in federal jail for operating a four-year, $3.3 million Ponzi scheme that conned dozens of buyers via false guarantees of beneficiant returns on overseas alternate foreign money investments and was funded, partly, by his embezzlement from his non-profit employer.
Steven F. Brown, 53, of Marina del Rey, was sentenced by United States District Choose Philip S. Gutierrez, who additionally ordered Brown to pay $3,313,346 in restitution. Brown pleaded responsible in October 2020 to 1 rely of wire fraud.
Brown managed and operated Alpha Commerce Analytics, Inc., a monetary consulting-and-investment firm he largely ran out of his residence. Neither Brown nor Alpha Commerce was a registered dealer or seller in securities. Brown additionally served because the accountant for a non-profit group offering dance and theater arts schooling to kids and younger adults in Los Angeles, which gave him entry to its financial institution accounts.
From April 2014 to Could 2018, Brown solicited investments in Alpha Commerce, together with from individuals he encountered via his place on the non-profit, and thru his relationship with its executives and workers, which afforded him entry to high-net price people.
To encourage these people to take a position with Alpha Commerce, Brown falsely promised that their investments would solely be used for overseas alternate (Foreign exchange) foreign money buying and selling and that they might obtain assured month-to-month payouts of round 10%. He additionally falsely represented that he had intensive expertise in Foreign exchange investing, repeatedly made worthwhile trades, and achieved substantial and rising charges of return that exceeded the trade common.
Opposite to his representations to buyers, Brown solely used a small portion of the overall quantity invested in Alpha Commerce for Foreign currency trading, principally in 2015. As an alternative, he routinely used investor funds for different functions, together with his lease, automobile funds, restaurant and retail bills, and lulling funds to different buyers.
To induce buyers to take care of or complement their investments with Alpha Commerce and to hide his scheme, Brown periodically offered buyers with account statements that mirrored fabricated funding returns that usually confirmed regular, vital positive aspects.
Brown made among the promised recurring payouts and offered demanded refunds, not based mostly on any Foreign exchange funding returns, however as an alternative from cash stolen from new buyers and thru funds he embezzled from the dance academy via unauthorized wire transfers, bank card advances and money withdrawals he was capable of make by advantage of his place because the dance academy’s accountant.
In whole, Brown brought about losses of roughly $3,313,346 to 48 victims, together with practically $700,000 in losses to his former employer based mostly on the cash he embezzled from it.
The Securities and Change Fee in September 2020 filed a lawsuit against Brown alleging violations of federal securities legal guidelines. That litigation is pending.
The FBI investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Lawyer Kristen A. Williams of the Main Frauds Part prosecuted this case.