Washington: Shamoon Rafiq, a previously convicted resident of Singapore, has been charged with fraud and identity theft in a pre-Initial Public Offering (IPO) stock scheme in New York State, the US Department of Justice said in a release on Friday.
The Justice Department said Rafiq elicited millions of dollars under the false pretense that he would sell shares of pre-IPO stocks, which – unbeknownst to his investors – he did not even own and therefore could not sell.
In addition, the Justice Department said Rafiq sent faked emails impersonating senior officials of a reputable family office investment firm that supposedly backed his claims, the release also said.
Rafiq engaged in the fraudulent activity since at least July 2020 when he began soliciting millions of dollars from investment firms in New York claiming he would sell them investment interests in a company that supposedly owned pre-IPO stock in Airbnb, Inc., among other companies, the release added.
The defendant was previously convicted for the similar fraud scheme in 2004 for which he served a 41-month prison sentence, but was eventually relocated to Singapore after being deported from the United States, according to the release.