It took authorities almost two years to take action against suspected fraudster Robert T. Fletcher III. But when they did, they did so in force against the American citizen who is the brains behind the “How to Become a Millionaire” training seminars in Ukraine.
On Nov. 23, Berkut special forces and State Security Service of Ukraine agents descended on an expo center near Livoberezhnya metro to apprehend the alleged swindler as he left a conference. Fletcher and his bodyguards, one of whom was armed with a semi-automatic weapon, resisted arrest, but were subdued.
Neither Fletcher’s lawyers, press service, nor wife were available for comment. But before his arrest, his spokespeople denied any wrongdoing.
The raid came after the Holosiyivskiy district police opened a criminal case and found evidence that Fletcher and company had “misled and defrauded” Ukrainian citizens of over Hr 10 million. A lawyer representing at least 30 victims, Victor Pavlovych, said altogether Fletcher and his company, Global Systems Training, took in $150 million.
The criminal case is ongoing as police are still interviewing victims and reviewing official statements.
The anti-Fletcher initiative group was formed by his alleged victims who say they submitted 30 statements to the police. They claim the American took in Hr 1 billion in an elaborate pyramid scheme. Fletcher has also given trainings in Central Asia, the Baltic countries and other nations, but is believed to have focused mainly on Ukraine.
Police reported that Fletcher “abused the trust of Ukrainians by misinforming them that he could safely place their money in investment projects in Ukraine and pay huge dividends stemming from the large profits of these projects.”
The police announcement stated Fletcher, 45, who owes $5 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionfor fraud, never gave back any of the money he received and violated the contracts of debts he signed with investors or by issuing printed valid receipts.
“Global Systems Training gave trainings, usually in the evening hours, during which Fletcher claimed he was a successful millionaire, spoke of various investment projects, from which many could profit while explaining that the more money people invested the more money they could earn,” the police announcement said. Police said promised returns on investments ranged from 20 to 300 percent annual rates.
If convicted, Fletcher faces five to 20 years in jail and possible confiscation of property for violating laws against large-scale and group fraud.
Meanwhile, Fletcher is being held in a prison cell in Podil prior to a court hearing at the Holosiyivsky District Court, which will decide whether to release him on bail or remand him to custody as the investigation continues.
The U.S. Embassy issued a statement about Fletcher’s arrest, saying he is accused of similar activity in the United States. “Mr. Fletcher, his company ProVision Operation Systems and other individuals have been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionof defrauding investors and using their money for personal expenses and to support a lavish lifestyle. These are civil charges, not criminal charges,” the statement said.
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