Sydney Lemos, Exential's chief executive officer.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – In a landmark ruling, a Dubai court on Sunday (April 10) sentenced two scammers to 517 years in jail each for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from investors in an elaborate foreign exchange trading fraud.
Sydney Lemos and Ryan Fernandez of Exential were found guilty of swindling and deception and sentenced to 517 years in jail, representing one year in prison for each of their more than 500 victims from airline crew members to business people. Lemos’ wife, who is at large, was also sentenced to 517 years in jail.
Many of the victims lost more than Dh100,000 in the forex trading “platform” established by UAE-based Exential, which was shut down by the Dubai Economic Department in July 2016. Lemos and Fernandez were arrested later that year.
The victims were promised returns of 120 percent on their investment, but ended up losing retirement and life savings. Others were buried in debt as they took bank loans to fund their investment in the forex trade that was later exposed as a scam.
John Paul Juanatas, a 31-year-old Filipino who fell victim to the scam, died of cancer last year after he lost all his savings and was unable to afford proper treatment.
UAE-based lawyer Barney Almazar, who represented a number of Exential’s Filipino investors in the case, told media that Sunday’s ruling sent a “very strong message” against financial crimes.
Almazar said that the ruling will help support victims’ civil claims so that they can reclaim the money that they lost. ICA/Expat Media
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