Former Wall Street Stockbroker Convicted Of Defrauding Investors

Former Wall Street Stockbroker Convicted of Defrauding Investors

Jason Amada Sentenced to 3 to 6 Years in Prison for Stealing Over $489,000
from Investors in Three-Year Foreign Currency Trading Scheme

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the conviction and sentencing of former stockbroker Jason Ari Amada, 42, of Forest Hills, Queens, for stealing over $489,000 from victims who had invested in his bogus foreign currency trading venture. Amada was sentenced in New York County Supreme Court to three to six years in prison after signing confessions of judgment in favor of his eight victims.

“If those who work on Main Street have to play by the rules, so must those on Wall Street,” said Attorney General James. “Instead of investing his clients’ savings in profitable funds, Jason Amada played fast and loose, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of his investors’ money. What’s worse is that Mr. Amada further defrauded investors by using their money like it was a part of his personal piggybank, all while furthering his scheme by creating fake account statements that showed he was making them profits. My office will use every tool in its arsenal to ensure criminals are brought to justice because no one is above the law.”

In September, Amada pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C felony, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a Class E felony, before the Honorable Maxwell Wiley in New York County Supreme Court. His guilty pleas resolved two sets of charges brought by the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. On August 29, 2018, Amada was arrested on an indictment, charging him with fraudulently soliciting a client to invest €250,000, and then losing 99% of her principal in less than 45 days of aggressive foreign currency trading. Following his arrest, additional victims reported that they had invested and lost money with Amada under similar circumstances. The Office of the Attorney General filed charges against Amada related to claims brought forward by seven other victims who were fraudulently solicited to invest with Amada between March 2015 and November 2018. In total, Amada defrauded investors out of more than $489,000.

Amada held himself out to the public as an experienced foreign currency — or Forex — trader and the operator of multiple legitimate investment management firms. However, he failed to disclose to his victims that he had not been a licensed broker since 2012. Amada also did not reveal that the various ventures he claimed to be associated with — Amada Capital Management, LLC, Amada Capital, LLC, and Evolution FX Trading — were mere shell corporations with no employees or genuine operations. They also were not registered with any regulatory authorities to trade foreign currencies.

In order to induce his victims to invest with him, Amada persuaded them that he could trade Forex safely and that capital preservation strategies would be employed to protect their investments. For instance, he falsely represented to one victim that she would not lose more than one-percent of her total investment. Amada led another victim to believe that he would use a hedging strategy that would minimize any potential losses. Contrary to his false representations to victims, Amada used highly-leveraged, aggressive trading tactics that resulted in the rapid and complete dissipation of his victims’ funds, while at the same time earning over $150,000 in fees and commissions for himself.

In addition to his high-risk trading strategies, Amada also diverted investor monies to pay for his own personal expenses. Amada diverted funds through corporate bank accounts into his own personal bank accounts, and, on some occasions, simply cashed the victim’s investment checks. Between 2015 and 2018, Amada spent approximately $100,000 of investor dollars on travel, dining, clothing, credit card bills, personal loans, payments to family and friends, purchasing cryptocurrency, and even on online gambling; he also made over $83,000 in cash withdrawals.  

In furtherance of his scheme, Amada concealed the trading losses and misappropriation of investor funds by providing his victims with fake account statements. Every month, Amada invented details of profitable trades to enter into elaborate statements that he would email his victims. These statements showed increasing account balances and swelling profits. Not only did these forged statements mask Amada’s crimes, but they also enabled him to convince some victims to continue investing. Amada deceived some of his victims for years about the status of their investments. They only discovered the truth once they asked Amada to return their investments, and he could not do so.

The Office of the Attorney General wishes to thank Trial Attorney Nicholas Sloey, Senior Trial Attorney Rachel Hayes, and Futures Trading Investigator Elsie Robinson of the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and Thomas Carocci of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for their valuable assistance in the investigation of this case.

The investigation was conducted by Investigator Brian Metz, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Michael Leahy and Deputy Chief John McManus. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes. Audit work was performed by Principal Forensic Auditor Michelle Skripko. The Forensic Audit Section is led by Deputy Chief Sandy Bizzarro.  

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Fred Wyshak and Jeff Linehan, with the assistance of Legal Support Analyst Ivan Ramirez and Supervising Legal Support Analyst Paul Strocko — all of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton and Deputy Bureau Chief Joseph G. D’Arrigo, and is a bureau of the Division of Criminal Justice led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jose Maldonado and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.