Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Spanish Fork Man and His Two Businesses Charged with Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Offenses.
SALT LAKE CITY – James Wolfgramm, aka Semisi Niu, aka James Vaka Niu, 43, of Spanish Fork, and two of his businesses, Bitex LLC (Bitex), and Ohana Capital Financial, Inc. (OCF), have been charged by a federal grand jury in the District of Utah with seven felony counts in connection with multiple financial fraud schemes. In the indictment, Wolfgramm is charged with five counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. Bitex is named in two wire fraud counts. OCF is named in two wire fraud counts, as well as the two money laundering counts.
According to the allegations contained in the indictment, since at least 2018, Wolfgramm represented himself on social media and in private communications as a multimillionaire who made his fortune in cryptocurrency. To gain trust with victims and attract them to his businesses, Wolfgramm used images of cryptocurrency wallets holding millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency, a suitcase full of cash, and social media posts of expensive sports cars Wolfgramm claimed to own. However, some of these images were believed to have been taken from websites and social media feeds of others
The indictment further alleges that Wolfgramm and Bitex collected nearly $1.7 million from two victims by purporting to sell a high-powered cryptocurrency mining machine – the “Bitex Blockbuster” – that did not actually exist. According to the indictment, Wolfgramm and Bitex displayed one of these purported machines in Bitex’s office space, connected to a monitor that appeared to display the machine’s real-time mining operations. In reality, the machine was fake, and the monitor displayed a pre-recorded loop that simply gave the appearance of mining activity.
The indictment also alleges that Wolfgramm and OCF marketed the business with the motto “Banking the Unbankable” and purported to offer financial services to entities ineligible for traditional bank accounts. According to the indictment, OCF’s websites falsely claimed to have a Board of Advisors and falsely promised that OCF customer funds were bonded. Under these pretenses, OCF received millions of dollars from customers who believed their money would be kept on deposit until the customers directed the release of their funds. Instead, Wolfgramm and OCF spent these funds on unrelated business expenses, including in one instance, providing a refund to a prior, unrelated depositor.
In the final scheme alleged in the indictment, Wolfgramm fraudulently agreed to purchase the Sports City complex and land in Draper for $15 million in 2021. Wolfgramm took possession of the property and took over billing for all Sports City customers – collecting close to $160,000 – without ever paying any utilities or expenses on the property and without making any of the promised payments to the seller on the sales contract. As part of the fraud, Wolfgramm gave the victims a $1 million check that bounced. Wolfgramm later claimed to have paid more than $255,000 in taxes for the property. According to the indictment, however, that payment failed, and Wolfgramm knew the account from which it was purportedly drawn had insufficient funds.
Wolfgramm, Bitex, and OCF are set to be arraigned in federal court on these charges.
If you believe you have been a victim of this crime, please call the FBI at (801) 579-1400.
Assistant United States Attorneys Aaron Clark and Stewart Young are prosecuting the case, and special agents from the FBI are conducting the investigation.
Allegations are not findings of guilt, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial.
Categories: Anti-Money Laundering Department of Justice (DOJ) Updates Enforcement Actions Fraud Indictments and Arrests Wire Fraud
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