Extradited Singapore resident who solicited at least US$9 million in investment scam pleads guilty in US

A MAN who was beforehand convicted of fraudulently promoting Google shares has pleaded responsible to an analogous rip-off the place he posed as representatives from a billionaire household’s funding workplace.

On Feb 22, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York mentioned in a press release that Singapore resident Shamoon Rafiq had pleaded responsible to soliciting hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of buyers’ cash by mendacity that he may provide shares from companies like Airbnb earlier than these have been made accessible to the general public.

In 2021, the Dutch nationwide was charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan with defrauding buyers by providing to promote them about US$9 million in such fictitious securities.

The 50-year-old, who additionally goes by the names Shamoon Omer Rafiq, Omar Rafiq and Omer Rafiq, was beforehand convicted in 2004 for fraudulently providing buyers entry to “friends and family” shares in Google.

He was subsequently deported from the United States after serving a 41-month sentence for his crime.

In or about 2020, Rafiq launched a scheme from Singapore to dupe funding companies in New York and elsewhere into paying for alleged funding pursuits in varied shares in privately held corporations that had not but performed an preliminary public providing (pre-IPO).

Under this scheme, he impersonated two senior officers of an funding agency of a “prominent billionaire family”, the assertion mentioned.

This concerned making a faux web site, which routinely routed customers to the funding agency’s official web site, and creating e-mail addresses that resembled the senior officers’ real e-mail addresses.

Among buyers that fell for the scheme was an funding agency primarily based in New York and one of many agency’s overseas institutional shoppers, which wired about US$9 million in mid-August 2020 to an account in New York for anticipated launch to a checking account in Singapore to pay Rafiq.

To perpetuate the scheme, Rafiq created and despatched e-mails from the faux addresses, in addition to faux contracts and deal paperwork presupposed to have been signed by the senior officers on behalf of the billionaire household’s workplace.

Rafiq additionally obtained about US$1 million from an funding group positioned in California in late 2020 after he had pretended to be a consultant of the household workplace that was providing pre-IPO inventory on the market.

He has agreed to pay restitution and forfeiture of the sum from the California funding group as a part of his responsible plea.

For conspiring to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, Rafiq will be sentenced to as much as 5 years in jail.

Said US lawyer Damian Williams: “Shamoon Rafiq ran a brazen scheme from Singapore to defraud US buyers who wished to put money into well-known non-public corporations earlier than they went public.

“This prosecution demonstrates the continued efforts of this Office and our law enforcement partners to pursue those who defraud American investors, no matter where the perpetrators are located.”

Rafiq was extradited from Singapore with the help of the US Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, Interpol, Singapore Police Force and Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore, in accordance with the assertion.

The Straits Times has contacted the authorities with additional queries. THE STRAITS TIMES