A federal jury in El Paso has convicted a Mexican businessman in a pyramid scheme officials said resulted in an estimated $15 million loss for investors in Mexico and the United States.
Roberto Trinidad Del Carpio Frescas, 39, of Chihuahua, on Friday was convicted on 24 counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of money laundering, officials with the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas said Monday.
Del Carpio pretended to have “superior knowledge and ability” as an investor in stocks, bonds, futures in oil, gas, precious metals and currency, officials said in a news release.
Officials said Del Carpio was not licensed in Texas as a dealer or investment adviser, but formed several companies to facilitate his scheme, including SMI International Institute Corporation, aka Stock Market Investment, and Del Carpio Trading Institute LLC. He also formed a company in the Cayman Islands, officials said.
According to officials, Del Carpio conspired with two others to collect money from more than 100 investors in Mexico and the United States from August 2010 to January 2012. He paid minimal amounts to his early investors “to encourage his victims to invest more of their money with him,” officials said, but pocketed most of the money he collected.
In 2013, Del Carpio told El Diario de Mexico that he didn’t know where the money investors gave him ended up, and that he believed his associates swindled the money after they allegedly conspired to take the businesses from him.
Del Carpio faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud and up to 10 years for money laundering. He’s expected to be sentenced within the next two months before U.S. District Judge David C. Guaderrama in El Paso.
He has remained in federal custody since his arrest in February 2015. Del Carpio’s co-defendant, David Brian Binder, has been indicted on one count of accessory after the fact and one count of wire fraud. Binder, 60, of Pittsburgh, Pa., is currently out on bond.
Jury selection in Binder’s trial is set for April 18 in Guaderrama’s court. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
Cindy Ramirez may be reached at 546-6151; email@example.com
@EPTCindyRamirez on Twitter.