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Two Montana men have been convicted in Nevada on federal conspiracy and fraud charges for a scheme in which they promised big returns in the foreign currency exchange market to hundreds of investors.

A jury in U.S. District Court in Reno on Wednesday convicted Rick Young of Lewistown on seven counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud and engaging in money transactions in property derived from illegal activity, court records said. U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks ordered Young into custody and set sentencing for June 30.

The jury continued deliberations on forfeiture allegations.

The government is seeking the forfeiture of approximately $493,849 in a bank account for Global One Group LLC, which was owned by the defendants, Superior Automotive Repair & Towing and Superior Towing, both Lewistown companies managed by Maelee Enterprises, a company owned by Young, and nine properties in Lewistown and Bozeman.

In February, co-defendant William Willard of Bozeman pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count and is to be sentenced on June 6, court records said.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Young and Willard, along with their Nevada-based companies, Global One Group LLC; Maelee Enterprises Inc.; and Badie Inc., were indicted in December 2008.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the men persuaded more than 700 victims to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into Global One with the expectation that they would earn high rates of return. Young and Willard made false representations to investors and charged investors a $500 annual membership fee for access to Global One’s website and to participate in conference calls and web-based seminars.

Young and Willard represented in the calls and seminars that Young had made 800 successful trades in a year on the foreign exchange market without one loss, that Global One investors could earn a substantial rate of return on their investments and that Global One had an automated software trading program that they said could automatically execute successful trades in the market.

The indictment said Young’s trading record was misleading and accounted only for profitable trades that had been closed and that Global One did not have the software it advertised. Young and Willard used the money from investors for their own personal use through bank transfers from Global One to the accounts of Maelee Enterprises and Badie, companies owned respectively by Young and Willard, the government said.

Young and Willard received about $900,000 from investors through their false claims from April 2006 until October 2007, the indictment said.

Contact Clair Johnson at cjohnson@billingsgazette.com or 657-1282.

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Locations

Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.