A 16-count indictment and 16-count superseding indictment were unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging Indonesian national Francius Marganda with securities fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and related conspiracy counts for running a Ponzi scheme from May 2019 to May 2021 that targeted hundreds of victim investors residing in more than 12 states including New York and in Indonesia. Marganda was extradited to the Eastern District of New York from Signapore yesterday and will be arraigned on November 13, 2023 before United States Chief Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced the extradition and charges.
“Hundreds of victims entrusted their hard-earned money to a fellow countryman from Indonesia who turned out to be an unscrupulous fraudster. Marganda betrayed their trust by using a classic Ponzi scheme to defraud them out of millions of dollars for his own personal gain,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office is committed to protecting the investing public from predators like Marganda and will work closely with our law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice regardless of where in the world they are located.”
Mr. Peace thanked the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, particularly the DOJ Attachés based in Manila and Bangkok; law enforcement partners at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, including the FBI’s Legal Attaché, the HSI Attaché, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service Overseas Criminal Investigations office; and Singaporean authorities, particularly the Singapore Police Force and Attorney-General’s Chambers, for their assistance with Marganda’s arrest and extradition. Mr. Peace also thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fort Worth Regional Office; the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, New York; the Federal Trade Commission; the New York State Attorney General’s Office; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office; the New York County District Attorney’s Office; the Queens County District Attorney’s Office; the New York City Police Department; the Westford Police Department, Westford, Massachusetts; the Richfield Police Department, Richfield, Minnesota; and the Lexington Police Department, Lexington, South Carolina, for their assistance with the investigation.
“Marganda allegedly preyed on his fellow expatriates and countrymen in order to defraud them of their money. The defendant enticed his victims with promises of an extraordinary return on investment, a tried-and-true lure into a Ponzi Scheme. Instead, the victims’ money went to funding the defendant’s extravagant lifestyle. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are dedicated to protecting the public from scams and ensuring that those who perpetuate these types of schemes face the consequences for their actions,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith.
“As alleged, Marganda and his co-conspirators preyed on the Indonesian and Indo-American community, promising rates of return that appeared too good to be true until their Ponzi scheme came crashing down, leaving investors out of their hard-earned savings to the tune of millions of dollars,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Arvelo. “HSI is proud to work with our partners at home and abroad, leveraging our international footprint to protect innocent victims from predatory schemes and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Marganda owned and operated Air Travel Ticketing Corp., a discount airline tickets company in New York, and operated MH Lux & Beauty Inc., a purported luxury goods company registered in California. As alleged in the indictment, from May 2019 to May 2021, Marganda and his co-conspirators ran a scheme to defraud investors by soliciting investments in two sham programs called Easy Transfer and Global Transfer—which Marganda and his co-conspirators falsely represented were short-term, high-interest loan programs in which investors would earn passive income. Hundreds of investors, many of the defendant’s Air Travel customers, were predominantly from the Indonesian and Indo-American community, and they invested more than $23 million into Easy Transfer and Global Transfer. Many of the victims had limited means and had pooled their resources with relatives and friends to make investments.
In fraudulent agreement letters distributed to victim investors, the scheme participants promised high rates of return—often as high as 200% or more—on the investors’ deposits. As the Ponzi scheme continued, Marganda and his co-conspirators directed investors to make cash payments and to deposit funds into their bank accounts and the accounts of other investors. Marganda and his co-conspirators misappropriated the funds for their own benefit, including by buying real estate and luxury goods. Marganda and his co-conspirators also laundered scheme-related money into bank accounts located in the Eastern District of New York and in Indonesia. The Ponzi scheme ultimately collapsed in May 2021, when Marganda and his co-conspirators stopped making payments to investors.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and Marganda is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Marganda faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment for each of the wire fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy counts and for four of the money laundering counts; up to 10 years’ imprisonment for two of the money laundering counts; and up to five years’ imprisonment for the securities fraud conspiracy count.
The FBI and HSI have established a website and an e-mail hotline for potential victims. If you have information regarding the allegations in the indictment or believe that you may be a victim, please go to www.fbi.gov/Marganda or e-mail [email protected]
In July 2022, Mr. Peace was selected as the Chairperson of the White Collar Fraud subcommittee for the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC). As the leader of the subcommittee, Mr. Peace plays a key role in making recommendations to the AGAC to facilitate the prevention, investigation and prosecution of various financially motivated, non-violent crimes including wire fraud, such as the fraud that Marganda committed.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Victor Zapana and Laura Zuckerwise are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Kavya Kannan.
FRANCIUS MARGANDAAge: 40Jakarta, Indonesia and formerly of Queens, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CR-481 (DLI)