(BCN) — An Alameda man has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges related to cheating investors, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Long Nguyen, 35, defrauded at least 20 people out of about $2 million, prosecutors said. Nguyen admitted that between September 2015 and July 2021, he made false statements about himself, his investment opportunities, how he would invest his victims’ money, and what he did with their money.

Nguyen told potential investors that he was a billionaire and that other people who invested had received a high rate of return. He also told people he was creating a hedge fund and that he had great investment opportunities in companies that had not yet made an initial public offering.

Nguyen also said he managed a real estate investment trust that would provide his victims with monthly income. Nguyen admitted creating fake screenshots that purported to show victims’ growing investment account balances, and falsely telling victims not only that they were making money, but also that he would buy–and, in some cases, had bought–them Teslas and homes.

According to the plea agreement, Nguyen also admitted that he did not, in fact, invest the majority of the money he received from his victims. Rather, Nguyen admitted spending victims’ money for his own personal use and operating a Ponzi scheme by using money he had received from some victims to pay other victims back.

Nguyen was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 18, 2022, on four counts of wire fraud, for which he pleaded guilty.

As part of his plea, Nguyen has agreed to pay at least $1 million in restitution to his victims. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 2 and is facing up to 80 years in federal prison.

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