A former broker was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison for defrauding investors out of more than $489,000 during a three-year foreign currency trading scheme, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday.
Jason Ari Amada, 42, of Forest Hills, Queens, stole the money from eight people who had invested in a “bogus foreign currency trading venture” that he ran from 2015 to 2018, James said. He had not been a registered broker since 2012.
Amada was sentenced in New York County Supreme Court after signing confessions of judgment in favor of his eight victims, she said.
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 Judge Maxwell Wiley. His guilty pleas resolved two sets of charges brought by the attorney general’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, James said.
Amada was arrested Aug. 29, 2018, on an indictment, charging him with fraudulently soliciting a client to invest €250,000, or about $277,000, and then losing 99% of that investor’s principal in less than 45 days of aggressive foreign currency trading, James said. Following his arrest, additional victims reported 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, James noted.
Amada had claimed publicly that he was an experienced trader in foreign currency — or forex — and the operator of multiple legitimate investment management firms. But he failed to disclose to his victims that he hadn’t been a licensed broker since 2012, James said.
Amada’s firm, Hold Brothers On-Line Investment Services (also known as Tafferer Trading), was expelled from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Nov. 26, 2012, according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck website. He was affiliated with that firm from 2003 to 2007 and, before that, was registered with Worldco from 2001 to 2003 and with Morgan Stanley from 2000 to 2001, according to BrokerCheck.