American gets jail for running S$18 million fraudulent forex trading scheme

Michael Atkins

SINGAPORE: A 51-year-old American man who was extradited to Singapore last year was sentenced to jail for three years and three months on Thursday (Apr 25) for running a fraudulent multi-million dollar foreign exchange investment scheme.

Michael Philip Atkins, whose scheme collected about S$18 million (US$13.2 million) from more than 1,000 investors, was convicted of one count of fraudulent trading, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

Atkins, a US citizen, was a director and shareholder of Aureus Capital. The company offered an investment scheme between April 2013 and July 2014 where it would trade in leveraged foreign exchange on behalf of clients.

Participants were deceived into believing that their funds had been invested and that Aureus Capital’s trades for them were profitable. 

However, only a small part of their funds were used for trading, with the company actually incurring losses from its trading activities. 

The police said last year that Aureus Capital did not operate substantive trading activities and had no sustainable means of funding its operations or the promised payouts to its investors. 

Atkins was first arrested and released on bail with his passport impounded in July 2014. But he later failed to report to the police as required.

According to US court documents, Atkins absconded from Singapore at some point in August 2014 to Jakarta, where he applied for a new passport at the US Embassy by falsely claiming he had lost his previous one. He then returned to the US with his new passport. 


An arrest warrant and an Interpol red notice were issued against him. 

Interpol red notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. It is a request to law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person – pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.

Red notices are published by Interpol at the request of member countries, of which Singapore is one.

With the assistance of US authorities, Atkins was eventually traced and extradited to Singapore in March 2023. He was charged the following month.

“The Singapore authorities will not hesitate to pursue and bring to justice those who commit crimes in Singapore, regardless of nationality and where they flee to,” the police said on Thursday.

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