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South Dakota man accused of $500K investment scheme

November 29, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man was charged with wire fraud after allegations he ran an investment scheme that caused one client to lose more than $500,000.

David Astin, 36, was arrested Oct. 22 in Houston, Texas, and transported to South Dakota, where he remains detained at the Pennington County Jail, the Rapid City Journal reported. The Hermosa man was indicted for federal wire fraud more than two years ago, and a warrant was then issued for his arrest.

Astin pleaded not guilty at his initial court appearance in Rapid City on Monday.

Court records allege Astin’s investment scheme began in 2012 when he started managing Dr. David Blickensderfer’s foreign currency exchange accounts, also known as “forex” accounts. Forex trading involves trading currencies of different countries against each other, according to the court documents.

“Astin began providing false information to Blickensderfer about the balances in Blickensderfer’s forex accounts to make Blickensderfer believe his forex accounts were making significant gains when in reality the accounts were losing substantial amounts of money,” the indictment stated.

Astin’s trading lost nearly $434,000 and he was paid $75,500 for his services, according to court documents. He allegedly sent emails and text messages that included false representations of account balances, as well as falsified Forex.com account statements, to hide losses that resulted from his trading.

Blickensderfer was unable to be reached by the newspaper. Astin’s attorney declined to comment.

Astin has been ordered to remain in custody because of a serious risk that he wouldn’t appear for future court proceedings.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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