A former Bergen County man was arrested in Kansas and charged with running a foreign currency Ponzi scheme in which he stole $900,000 from at least 20 investors to pay for a luxury car, jewelry and golf, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Thomas Lanzana, 51 formerly of Midland Park, was charged by complaint with one count each of wire fraud and commodities fraud, Carpenito said. He made an initial appearance Wednesday in federal court -- hours after his Park City, Kansas arrest.
Lanzana -- who had been living in South Carolina -- in 2013 began convincing prospective clients to invest in algorithm-based, foreign currency trading pools known as forex -- alleging he was a successful forex trader who ran a company called Blackbox Pulse, the complaint said.
He then took several steps to keep his customers' trust, sending them false account statements and posting false monthly account statements to his companies' websites showing balances -- some exceeding $800,000 for trading accounts that didn't exist, Carpenito said.
"Lanzana misappropriated at least $350,000 in customer funds, using some to repay earlier investors in the manner of a Ponzi scheme, and to pay for his personal expenses," said federal officials, "including purchases on Amazon, payments to a luxury car dealer and a jewelry retailer, and golf expenses."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.