A Glen Rock man used some of the more than $400,000 he allegedly defrauded from investors of his currency trading company to buy a natural foods store, among other things, federal prosecutors say.
Christopher A. Engel, 34, no address provided, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the single count of wire fraud with which he's charged, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
Engel used his company, Pinnacle Forex Group, to defraud 21 investors of $402,878 between June 2011 and October 2012, telling them he lost it in trading, according to court documents.
Engel operated the currency trading company from his home, the news release says.
Engel touted the company as "a full scale currency investment firm" that was "in the top 1 percent of currency traders," the release says.
Investors gave Engel $411,500 to invest in currency trading, but he instead transferred all but $137,000 to his personal accounts, documents state.
He later withdrew the invested money, using it and the rest of the money for his personal use, buying the natural foods store, vehicles and other personal items, documents say.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to say what store Engel bought with the money.
Fake statements: To cover up the fraud, Engel sent clients "phony monthly account statements with fabricated earnings and trading activity," documents say.
Engel returned $8,622 of the more than $400,000 he received to investors, documents state.
He told investors he lost the rest in trading, documents say.
Along with prison time, Engel faces a $250,000 fine, probation and could be ordered to pay restitution to victims.
A plea agreement has been filed in the courts, indicating Engel could plead guilty when he's arraigned on the charge, the release says.
Neither Engel nor his attorney listed in court documents could be reached for comment Monday night.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.