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Sham trader who urged investors to ‘profit off’ pandemic charged with commodities fraud

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A man who urged investors to “profit off” the COVID-19 pandemic has been charged with commodities fraud, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

A federal grand jury indicted Kenzley Ramos, 27, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, on one count of commodities fraud for falsely promising investors that he would trade their money on foreign currency exchange markets while pocketing their funds. Mr. Ramos surrendered to federal authorities in Atlanta on Friday morning, and made his initial appearance in federal court on Friday afternoon. 

According to the indictment, unsealed today, Mr. Ramos used a classified advertisements website to market himself as a skilled foreign currency exchange, or “forex,” trader.

As the nation’s stock markets cratered in the spring of 2020 due to the threat of COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Ramos preyed on the public’s concerns surrounding the pandemic, telling prospective investors that the “stock market is crumbling” and inviting them to “profit off the coronavirus with forex.” He said there was “no possible way” investors could lose money with his expertise, claiming “guaranteed” returns as high as 300 percent.

Instead of investing their money, however, Mr. Ramos misdirected investors’ funds to his own personal use and to enrich others.

An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Ramos is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, Mr. Ramos faces up to 25 years in federal prison.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB). Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabio Leonardi, the Northern District of Texas’ COVID-19 Coordinator, is prosecuting the case.

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