Jamaican Fraudster Could Face 20 Years Per Count If Feds Gets Way

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News Americas, ORLANDO, FL, Fri. Aug 5, 2011: Former OLINT head and Jamaica national, David A. Smith, could face 20 years in jail per count if federal prosecutors gets their way on August 11th, News Americas has learnt.

Smith faces sentencing before Judge Mary S. Scriven on August 11th at 9 AM in Orlando Courtroom 5 B. This week federal prosecutors recommended harsher penalties for the once top Jamaican businessman, saying Smith should face 20 years per count and not simply 20 years in jail.

“To sentence the defendant to twenty years would thwart application of the Guidelines’ range of Life,” wrote ADA Bruce S. Ambrose in a memorandum recommendation to the court. “Sentencing the defendant to twenty years would fail to (1) respect the nature and seriousness of his offenses, (2) afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct, and (3) avoid unwarranted sentencing disparity among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar misconduct. The defendant should be sentenced to a sufficient term of imprisonment, consistent with the Guidelines range … in whatever combination of consecutive sentences the Court chooses, to reach that goal.”

Smith in a plea deal earlier this year with prosecutors admitted in Federal District Court in Orlando to four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and 18 counts of money laundering.

The wire fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years. In addition, for each count of wire fraud, the fine may be assessed at twice the amount of gross gain or loss. The money laundering counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years.

Smith’s guilty plea follows an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the plea agreement, for more than three years, Smith executed a Ponzi scheme to defraud over 6,000 investors located in the Middle District of Florida and elsewhere out of over $220 million.

Smith led investors to believe that he was investing their money in foreign currency trading and earning, on average, 10 percent per month, when in fact he was not trading their funds. Foreign currency trading is a highly volatile and risky investment vehicle that is regulated in the United States by the Commodity Futures Commission and the National Futures Association.

In addition to defrauding those investors, Smith conspired to launder the proceeds that were received in his scam, and he participated in the laundering of millions of dollars of proceeds that were obtained as a result of wire fraud.

The four counts of wire fraud are based on Smith’s transmitting false and fraudulent account statements to several investors through email and the internet website for his investment club.

Smith also conspired with others to launder approximately $128 million of proceeds that were obtained as a result of the wire fraud scheme, and he in fact laundered those millions of dollars. The purpose of the money laundering engaged in by Smith and his conspirators was to conceal and disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership and the control of the proceeds of the wire fraud.