A Jamaican financier accused of defrauding thousands of investors with an alleged multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme has been indicted in a Florida court on fraud and money laundering charges, officials said Tuesday.
David Smith, who allegedly promised big returns to over 6,000 clients in the Caribbean and Florida through an investment club called Olint, is accused of transferring millions to his personal bank accounts “to finance a lavish and expensive lifestyle,” according to a 23-count indictment handed down in Orlando, Florida.
U.S. authorities declined to discuss Smith’s possible extradition. But the suspect’s lawyer in the Turks and Caicos Islands — where Smith has faced forgery, theft, false accounting and other fraud-related charges since last year — said he expected U.S. authorities would soon file a request. Because alleged victims were located in the U.S., extradition to the U.S. is likely forthcoming.
Smith was released on $2 million bail and resides in Providenciales. His next appearance in Turks and Caicos’ Supreme Court is set for Sept. 21.
The Jamaican financier moved to the British Caribbean dependency of Turks and Caicos after Jamaican authorities raided his company’s Kingston office in March 2006 and barred it from operating in the country.
The U.S. indictment against Smith, alleges that individuals in Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Orange County, Florida, and elsewhere were supposedly lured to invest in Smith’s businesses, which was presented as a private club where money would be pooled to engage in foreign currency trading.
Among other forfeitures, U.S. authorities say they are seeking $128 million and a house in affluent Windermere, Florida, which Smith purportedly bought with a nearly $160,000 downpayment traceable to the alleged wire fraud.
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