Citizen Extradited from Tonga to Face Investment Fraud Charges

Citizen Extradited from Tonga to Face Investment Fraud Charges

A United States Citizen who formerly resided in Turlock, California, and Auckland, New Zealand, was returned to the United States by Tonga and was expected to appear on court to face investment fraud charges on Monday.

Antone Thomas Pedras, who also went by Chris Pedras, 64, arrived at LAX last Friday in the custody of the United States Marshals Service. Pedras was returned to the United States to face 11 counts of wire fraud in connection with several fraudulent investment schemes.

In a first superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on August 6, 2014, Pedras is charged with inducing investors to give money to “Maxum Gold Trade Program,” which he claimed was a “low-risk investment with monthly returns ranging between 4 to 8 percent.” Pedras is also charged with soliciting investments in the “FMP Renal Program,” which he claimed “would be publicly traded and would operate kidney dialysis clinics in New Zealand.” To bolster his false claims to his investors, Pedras created false account statements for the Maxum website: A United States Citizen who formerly resided in Turlock, California, and Auckland, New Zealand, was returned to the United States by Tonga and was expected to appear on court to face investment fraud charges on Monday.

Antone Thomad Pedras, who also went by Chris Pedras, 64, arrived at LAX last Friday in the custody of the United States Marshals Service. Pedras was returned to the United States to face 11 counts of wire fraud in connection with several fraudulent investment schemes.

In a first superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on August 6, 2014, Pedras is charged with inducing investors to give money to “Maxum Gold Trade Program,” which he claimed was a “low-risk investment with monthly returns ranging between 4 to 8 percent.” Pedras is also charged with soliciting investments in the “FMP Renal Program,” which he claimed “would be publicly traded and would operate kidney dialysis clinics in New Zealand.” To bolster his false claims to his investors, Pedras created false account statements for the Maxum website.

“Those who commit fraud against residents of the United States will not escape punishment simply by residing overseas,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This case and the extradition demonstrate the commitment of the Department of Justice to holding those responsible for their actions criminals both here and outside the country who commit fraud against U.S. residents.”

If convicted of the charges in the indictment, Pedras faces a statutory maximum sentence of 220 years in prison.