Sandy Winick: Alleged penny stock fraud kingpin arrested in Thailand – by Tony Van Alphen and Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew(Toronto Star – August 20, 2013)

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Police in Thailand say they have captured Sandy Winick, alleged Canadian kingpin of one of the biggest penny stock frauds ever.

Canadian fugitive Sandy Winick, accused of masterminding a massive international stock fraud, allegedly bragged that no one would ever catch up to him.

But less than five days after U.S. authorities charged the former Torontonian and eight other individuals, he is behind bars in Bangkok, Thailand, awaiting extradition proceedings.

The FBI confirmed Monday that the Royal Thai police had captured the elusive Winick, 55, in his room in the city’s Marriott Empire Place hotel during the weekend.

Police have now arrested eight of nine individuals in what the U.S. Justice Department calls one of the biggest international penny stock frauds and advance fee schemes “in history.”

The alleged swindles resulted in $140 million (U.S.) in losses by hundreds of investors in 35 countries from 2008 to this year, according to U.S. officials.

U.S. court documents obtained by the Star allege that the affable Winick, who used numerous aliases including “Robin Cheer,” had boasted numerous times on wiretaps about getting and using phoney passports to travel from country to country without detection by police or regulatory agencies.

“He had bragged about holding fake passports and that no one would be able to apprehend him,” said one senior U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the case.

The FBI said in its investigations, the agency had located Winick in Canada, Hong Kong, Vietnam and “elsewhere” in recent years. When the FBI posted Winick’s name on its “Wanted” list, it revealed he may be living in or near Bangkok, and that’s where police quickly found him.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York said police apprehended Winick, who faces 23 fraud-related charges, without incident in his room.

At one point during the last decade, Winick, who filed for bankruptcy in 1983 and 1998, had lived with his wife in an upscale north Toronto home. It featured a huge aquarium that provided “peace and tranquility,” he said.

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