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Biggest Forex Scam Pt. III (Joel N. Ward)

August 18, 2010 (Last updated on October 4, 2017) by

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 have 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 Beginning

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.

The Lawsuit

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.

What Next?

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.

If you have some comments on this one of the biggest Forex scams, please, feel free to have your say using the form below.

5 Responses to “Biggest Forex Scam Pt. III (Joel N. Ward)”

  1. john

    Great post! The Scams are destroying the Forex market.


  2. James

    Not using my real name here as I don’t want to rehash all of this but the truth as to how the scam was uncovered was not Joel “confessing” as I’m sure he would like all to believe. We were investors and methodically drawing our funds out as I became a more competent trader myself. As we drew down from approx $250k with the fund to our last 70 or so, we were told that the funds were “unavailable” at this time. Being a trader myself, I knew the short term nature of these trades and that they should be available at 24 hours notice per our agreement. Suspecting wrongdoing my wife contacted someone at the CFTC, who questioned us, then contacted the FBI and the downward spiral began. All of this said, he was about to run out of cash and have to face us very soon regardless.


    Andrei Reply:

    Very interesting! What was your overall result with his “fund”? Profit/loss? How big? If you don’t mind telling us, of course.


    Ellie Reply:

    Not using my real name either, I was wondering what “james” feels about Joel’s president Brent Irelan and how he managed to not have any charges or consequences for his participation. He claims he knew nothing, but seems hard to believe. Within 1 year Brent bought another business and 1 more year after that bought another home, which seems unbelievable to me as he supposedly lost money himself. What are your thoughts?


  3. Ellie

    Still haven’t heard from anyone here regarding how they felt about Joe’s president Brent Irelan and now he managed to escape without any charges and was able to buy a business and a home. He also still maintains part ownership of a plane and has his pilot’s license. He is leaving the county this month to go to Nicaragua for 6 months – any thoughts? If you would rather email me, you can do so at


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