Stock market prediction fraudster faces court

A German accused of embezzling around €500 million by telling investors he had a secret stock market prediction computer programme, was arraigned in Frankfurt at the weekend after being arrested in the US.

Stock market prediction fraudster faces court
Photo: DPA

Ulrich Engler, nicknamed “Richie,” has been on the run since 2007, when a warrant was issued for his arrest and he disappeared in the US, the Bild newspaper reported on Monday.

Engler, who never worked in a bank, is thought to have spent several years pretending to be an investment expert who had developed a computer programme allowing him to recognize stock markets developments before anyone else. Around 3,500 people are thought to have handed him their savings in Germany alone.

He used the money to live a life of luxury and pay off other investors.

American authorities found the 52-year-old after his fingerprints were taken when he was stopped on a drink-driving charge in 2011.

He was arrested in July in Las Vegas, where the FBI confiscated more than a thousand valuable works of art from his home, including an original painting by Russian abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky.

Engler was extradited to Germany on Friday, and is expected to be moved to a prison in Mannheim on Monday.

“I know that I have reached rock bottom,” Engler said in a statement through his lawyer Steffen Lindberg. “But I’m glad that I’m not on the run any more, and that I’m back on German soil.”

Lindberg told the paper, “My client is ready to take responsibility and wants to cooperate with authorities.”

If convicted of the embezzlement charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

The Local/bk

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.