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Financial Crimes

3 arrested, charged with wire fraud investment scheme

MIAMI – Three individuals were arrested Monday and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to court documents, beginning in 2009, Antonino Castro, 65, of Hialeah, Betsy Aguiar Molina, 41, of Miami Lakes, and Anibangel Molina, 42, of New York, allegedly offered investment trading opportunities in precious metals, oil and foreign exchange currency, as well as high interest checking accounts via their company Bancard Financial Services. Molina was the company’s president, Aguiar Molina was the operations manager and Castro was the officer manager.

The complaint alleges that the defendants made false representations, failed to pay dividends to investors since October 2012 and allocated investor money for their personal expenses instead of purchasing commodities or paying interest promised to investors. For example, in December 2011, Molina wrote a check for $59,741 from Bancard’s bank account to purchase a 2012 Range Rover Evoque as a gift for Aguiar Molina.

The defendants executed the scheme by soliciting investors through television commercials that advertised classes in foreign exchange currency trading in Miami. After people attended these seminars, the defendants offered to invest customers’ money in foreign currency markets, commodities or high interest checking accounts. From November 2011 through November 2012, Molina and Aguiar Molina received at least $4 million from more than 50 individual investors. None of the defendants or Bancard Financial Services are registered or licensed to trade in commodities, securities, currency or as a broker of these articles.

In particular, the complaint alleges that Molina and Aguiar Molina made false representations to investors by presenting some customers with a fraudulent certificate of bond coverage that falsely claimed that Lloyds Bank of London indemnifies Bancard Financial Services LLC against a loss to any client up to $2.2 million. The complaint also alleges that Aguiar Molina falsely told at least one customer that President Obama had created a law to guarantee investments. According to the complaint, numerous investors have contacted Molina and Castro seeking to close out their investment accounts, but the defendants have not returned their money.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison.

If anyone has information about this fraud or has been a victim of the fraud, please call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.