The SEC on Monday filed a lawsuit against repeated fraudster Christopher Slaga for an elaborate scheme that allegedly swindled about $3.5 million from investors—most of which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle. Under the alias “Keith Renko,” Slaga posed as a “seasoned” Wall Street trader and Dartmouth College graduate, convincing over a dozen victims to invest in his phony firms that used “proprietary computer based quantitative and statistical algorithms,” according to the SEC complaint. He even allegedly compared his sham investment strategy to the movie The Big Short, promising a “catastrophic” global market event that his investors could profit from. But there apparently was no advanced algorithm. In fact, Slaga allegedly didn’t invest a vast majority of the money at all. Instead, he used nearly $2.9 million to fund travel, jewelry and rent for properties in Florida, the Bahamas and Barbados—where he is a resident. He did invest a portion of the money in his own portfolio, where he incurred trading losses of more than $450,000, the complaint claims. In addition to the SEC complaint, Slaga is also facing federal charges for his alleged scheme. He was previously convicted of wire fraud in 2003, and prosecutors say he used the “Keith Renko” alias to hide his past.
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