In this article, we will delve into the details of a significant financial fraud known as Trader’s Domain. Part one of our investigation revealed a network of scammers involved in a Ponzi scheme under ongoing government investigation. However, as we interviewed the victims, it became apparent that there was a mastermind orchestrating the entire operation behind the scenes. This led us to discover the key figure responsible for this elaborate scheme, a man named Ted Safranco.
Initially, Ted Safranco was portrayed as an experienced and respected Wall Street trader, widely known and trusted within the trading community. Victims described him as a credible and knowledgeable individual who appeared to be genuine and trustworthy. However, further research into his background revealed a stark contrast to this image.
It was discovered that Safranco’s trading career began in 2016 when he became a student of a 23-year-old Instagram influencer named Nino Koroff. Koroff was notorious for promoting get-rich-quick courses that turned out to be scams. Inspired by his mentor’s deceptive practices, Safranco launched his own grift, starting with the Forex Family Course and eventually establishing his own Forex brokerage, Trader’s Domain, in collaboration with his business partner David Negus in 2018.
Insights from a former roommate, Jonathan Sameta, shed light on the early days of Trader’s Domain. The brokerage initially positioned itself as a reputable and honest entity in a field notorious for shady dealings. They claimed to operate as an “a-book” brokerage, ensuring transparency and integrity in their transactions. However, evidence suggests that Trader’s Domain was involved in “b-book” activities, where the broker takes the opposite side of the trade, profiting when the traders lose money.
The discrepancy between their claimed a-book status and the evidence of b-book practices raised suspicions about the authenticity of Trader’s Domain’s trades and returns. Testimonies from victims further reinforced these doubts. Reports of manipulated trades and mysterious trade erasures became commonplace, with victims recounting their experiences of questionable practices within the brokerage.
To uncover more evidence and gather insights, a Discord channel was set up to encourage victims to share their findings. This led to the discovery of invoices indicating that Trader’s Domain had been utilizing the services of B2 Broker, a white-label solution for brokerages and exchanges. These invoices suggested a connection between Trader’s Domain and B2 Broker, with Trader’s Domain potentially rebranding B2 Broker’s product as their own. This raised concerns about the authenticity of Trader’s Domain’s trades and the legitimacy of their operations.
Further investigation into the flow of money revealed a sophisticated money laundering operation. Victims were instructed to wire funds to U.S.-based banks, such as CCAP Holdings, using generic memos to avoid suspicion. As soon as the wire transfer was initiated, Trader’s Domain would credit the victims’ accounts with fake funds. These actions created the illusion of successful trades and profits. Meanwhile, the actual investment funds were redirected through a series of transactions involving offshore shell companies.
Evidence suggests that significant sums of money were funneled offshore through various shell companies, potentially serving as a method of money laundering. Invoices showed substantial amounts being sent to entities such as Safe Seal Technology and Discover Tour Plus. While the latter claimed to be a travel agency, its website appeared inactive, raising suspicions about its actual purpose in the money laundering process.
Additionally, cryptocurrencies played a pivotal role in facilitating money transfers for Trader’s Domain. By exploiting the crypto market’s anonymity and circumventing regulatory restrictions, Trader’s Domain enabled investors, including U.S. citizens, to participate through crypto accounts. This approach allowed them to operate on a large scale while evading regulatory scrutiny.
The sheer scale of Trader’s Domain.