Ex-Trader, Lowrance, Extradited From Peru on Fraud Charges, U.S. Says

A former foreign-exchange trader, Jeffery Lowrance, was extradited from Peru on charges he swindled about 400 U.S. investors, leading to losses of at least $5 million, according to federal prosecutors in Chicago.

“Lowrance and others at his direction fraudulently solicited investments by making material misrepresentations,” including the profitability of foreign exchange trading by one of his businesses, First Capital Savings & Loan Ltd., according to a statement today by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago citing an August 2010 indictment.

A U.S. citizen, Lowrence, 50, allegedly obtained $25 million from about 400 American investors, losing at least $5 million of their money, Fitzgerald said.

He pleaded not guilty today to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason in Chicago, answering charges first filed by prosecutors in 2009.

Arrested earlier this year in Lima, he is being held in U.S. custody pending the outcome of a detention hearing set for July 25, Fitzgerald said. He had been living in Peru intermittently since 2004 and continuously since 2009, the prosecutor said.

Lowrance is being represented by Mary Higgins Judge of the Federal Public Defender’s office in Chicago, who confirmed her client’s entry of a plea today in a telephone interview. She declined to discuss the matter, saying she was still familiarizing herself with the case.

New Zealand

Incorporated in New Zealand, First Capital was a successor to an earlier Lowrance business, Mentor Investing Group Inc., which was started in San Diego and later moved to Panama City, Panama, the prosecutor said.

Lowrance allegedly obtained investments by promising speculators he would pay them 4 percent to 7 percent interest a month on their investments, according to the indictment. Some investors were paid with other investors’ money.

He and his businesses were sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Fitzgerald said.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Lowrance, 09cr578, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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