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US SEC settles fraud complaint against binary options fraudsters Kai Petersen, Gil Beserglik et al

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54-year-old German Kai Petersen a/k/a Kai Haupt and his Israeli partners Gil Beserglik and his son Raz Beserglik have been major players in the binary options and forex fraud industry between 2014 and 2020. Their scam brands and boiler rooms have defrauded tens of thousands of investors out of as much as $100 million the SEC has alleged in a fraud lawsuit. The US regulator claims that Bloombex Options, Morton Finance, and Starling Capital ripped off $100 million. And these were only three of many other scams. On May 25, 2021, the SEC announced a cheap settlement in this case.

The SEC Fraud Complaint

In September 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a fraud complaint. According to the SEC, between October 2014 and August 2017, Kai Petersen (a/k/a Kai Haupt), Gil Beserglik, and Raz Beserglik owned, controlled, and operated at least the three unregistered binary options brokers Bloombex Options, Morton Finance, and Startling Capital. Together, they defrauded investors worldwide out of tens of millions of dollars working with boiler rooms in Germany and Israel. As a result, most investors lost their money, and some retirees lost their entire savings.

So much more scams

In addition to the scams investigated by the SEC, Kai Petersen (Kai Haupt) and the Beserglik family are associated with many other scams such as Stern Options, Weiss Finance, or Olsson Capital. In addition, the companies that operated the Boiler Rooms in Germany or Israel have either been liquidated, merged with other companies, or renamed since the SEC complaint.

Changing name

As exposed by FinTelegram in October 2020, Petersen married and changed his name to Kai Christian Haupt (a/k/a Christian Kai Haupt or Kai Haupt). Under his new name, he is registered as a managing director at COOC GmbH, MediaMate GmbH, ComServ GmbH, and AkustikUnion GmbH, all of them are registered in Duesseldorf, Germany. Duesseldorf is a kind of twin city of Cologne and thus in the immediate vicinity of Petersen aka Haupt. Please read this report for additional information.

The SEC settlement

Without admitting or denying the allegations of the SEC’s complaint, Kai Petersen (a/k/a Kai Haupt), Gil Beserglik, and Raz Beserglik consented to the entry of final judgments.

  • Kai Petersen a/k/a Kai Haupt agreed to pay $200,296 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and a $100,000 civil penalty.
  • Gil Beserglik agreed to pay $2,347,224 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and a $300,000 civil penalty.
  • Raz Beserglik agreed to pay $2,086,421 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and a $465,000 civil penalty.

That’s a sweet deal for the three of them, given the claimed profit of tens of millions of dollars. But, on the other hand, it puts money back into the investor protection fund used to fund the SEC’s whistleblower program. The victims, however, hardly get any money back given the cheap deal.

It pays to be a fraudster, after all. Or so it seems at least.

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