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Two Washington residents who operated a futures scam solicited over $11 million from investors and used their association as leverage for the scam.

Sung Hong (aka Laurence Hong) and his wife Hyun Loo Hong (aka Grace Hong) introduced themselves as experienced traders with a history of performance in order to solicit investors for their hedge fund, Pishon Holdings. The couple also supplied their asset management service as investment advisors through individually managed accounts.

Sung, 47, and Hyun Loo, 42, not only set up their phony hedge fund but also lied about returns they could get on past investments and about their certificates and qualifications to entice credulous investors. The fraud focused on religious congregations.

Lawrence Hong, according to court records, continued defrauding people even after he had already served three years in federal prison on a previous investment scam. And in a parallel criminal case, the CFTC said he and his wife pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges including money laundering and wire fraud. Within this much more massive scam, they confessed posing as an investment advisor and cheating clients from almost $13 million.

Prison term and Grace Hong was sentenced to a 72-month prison term,” the bureau said.

The CFTC further states that the pair used their Religion for church members to trust them to invest. 1 church spent $1 million and lost $300,000 in one trade. Still, regardless of the steep declines, the Hongs withdrew nearly $150,000 in the church’s accounts as advisor fees.

The Investigation revealed that investor cash was used to pay for the couple’s lavish lifestyle, which included a 45-foot yacht and luxury cars like BMW, and Lamborghini.

However, the watchdog cautioned victims that restitution orders” may not result from the Recovery of money lost because the wrongdoers may not have enough Funds or resources.”

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