U.S. Attorney’s Office
March 16, 2012
Eastern District of New York
Individual Posing as Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Charges
Defendant Defrauded Hawaiian Investor of Approximately $1 Million
Earlier today, Telson Okhio, the president of Ohio Group Holdings Inc. (“OGH”), an alleged investment firm, pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud arising out of an investment fraud scheme. Okhio faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment. The guilty plea proceeding was held before United States District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York.
The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
Between February and April 2009, Okhio, posing as an investment adviser, solicited $5 million from an investor in Hawaii. Okhio assured the investor that he would invest his money in a $100 million trading platform in the foreign currency exchange market. Okhio also assured the investor that his investment would earn a 200 percent profit in four weeks and that his investment would never be at risk.
Almost immediately after the victim wired $5 million from a bank account in Hawaii to OGH’s bank account at a branch of Bank of America in Queens, New York, Okhio wire- transferred $1 million of the investment to his personal account at JPMorgan Chase in Queens, New York. From there, Okhio withdrew the $1 million through a series of cash and ATM withdrawals and wire transfers to third parties. The scheme resulted in approximately $1 million in losses to the investor.
“Investors should beware of deals that sound too good to be true and should always look into the bona fides of their investment advisers. The defendant represented himself as a trustworthy adviser with access to sophisticated and safe investments. In reality, he was a con man who stole a million dollars from his investor. We will aggressively prosecute such outright thefts by so-called investment professionals,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sylvia Shweder and Sarah Coyne.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency task force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.