When (alleged!) Canadian penny-stock fraud maestro Sandy Winick had to choose a place to hide from the U.S. authorities, he could have gone to Russia or Ecuador or Venezuela, where he might have lived out his life thumbing his nose at Washington and spending whatever of the $140 million he (allegedly!) stole that his generous hosts allowed him to keep. Instead, he went to Thailand.
Now, Thailand certainly has many charms. But it is also the U.S.'s closest ally in Southeast Asia and has an extradition treaty with Uncle Sam. Guess what happens next.
Sandy Winick, the Canadian accused of orchestrating the scheme, was arrested in Thailand on Saturday. Gregory Curry, also Canadian, was arrested there earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement. Curry's son was among those arrested last week.
Both now face extradition to New York, the statement said.
"They thought that they could simply run away from their crimes," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said. "Today, with the help of our friends in Thai law enforcement, we once again showed that fraudsters cannot hide from the law."
The so-called "pump and dump" scheme involved fraudulently pumping up the price of penny stocks and dumping them to investors in 35 countries, prosecutors said. The group also operated call centers to induce investors to pay fees for non-existent services to sell their illiquid penny stock shares, in a so-called "advance fee scheme," according to an indictment….
Prosecutors said Winick has lived in China, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States.
Others charged include Gregory Curry's son, Kolt Curry. The father and son managed call centers around the world, including in Canada, Thailand and Britain, and were planning to open a call center in Brooklyn, according to prosecutors. They also prepared false letters, websites and email accounts to deceive potential and actual victims, prosecutors said.