Covered in our previous articles, you’ve already read about Forex scams created by Russell Cline and Richard Matthews Jr. Today we’ll talk about exploits about another conman of the foreign exchange market. Known as the ”Financial Serial Killer”, Joel N. Ward, a small trader with big dreams took one small wrong step after another and ended up scamming his investors of over $11 million. The incredible part of this story is that unlike the other two fraudsters we’ve covered in the past two articles, this one actually started out as a legitimate business – according to what Ward said in his interview with The Modesto Bee anyway.
The entire idea of investing other people’s money started out after Ward’s initial success in the Forex market where he was consistently making 15 to 20 percent returns on his own investments. Seeing his success, his friends and family started asking him to trade their money. Thus began a venture named Joel Nathan Forex Fund that would ultimately go on to scam investors off millions of dollars in Forex trading.
Joel Nathan Forex Fund Becomes the Financial Killing Machine
And we don’t mean that in a good way. According to Ward’s interview with The Bee, the downward spiral for the company was initiated and accelerated due to two reasons – the knowledge that he could dip into the funds and make up for losses due to his skills, and the buying of a school named Learn: Forex Inc., which turned out to be a poor investment.
One thing led to another and before he knew it, Ward was using most of his fund money – that should have been invested – to finance his business interests.
The Beginning of the End
There are multiple versions to this story. The official word is that the Washington Mutual Bank found irregularities in his accounts, however, Ward maintains that the letter he wrote to his wife confessing to fraud was the thing that started all the other proceedings and the lawsuit.
While the two points may be open to debate, it is indeed true that he did confess to his wife and subsequently all his investors as well that the fund money had been misappropriated.
Ward confessed guilty to nine different counts of felony including money laundering and fraud. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison and ordered to pay over $11 million as restitution to his investors. He pleaded to the court to allow him to stay out of prison while he worked towards earning all that money back for his investors, however, the court ruled against it.
Apparently, some of his victims and investors still have faith in Ward’s ability to recover their losses; they even supported his plea with the court. In his interview, Ward said that he will continue to trade and make money while he is in prison and ensure that he’s back on track doing a legitimate business.
It would be very interesting to see how that turns out. In our next post, we will be talking about a former American football player, who not only created history in the game he played but also in the Forex market. Learn how Russell Erxleben was convicted of securities fraud in 1999 and sentenced to 84 months in prison.
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