The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has indicted six people allegedly involved in different crypto crimes, including NFTs, that siphoned $135 million from unsuspecting investors.
Baller Ape NFT promoter indicted
The promoter of Baller Ape Club Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Vietnamese Le Anh Tuan, was charged with wire fraud and money laundering.
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The DoJ said Tuan and some unnamed conspirators were involved in the “rug pull” of the NFT collection, stealing $2.6 million from investors.
According to the statement, the accused laundered the funds by converting the stolen coins into other kinds of cryptocurrencies across multiple blockchains with decentralized exchange services.
Tuan faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
The Justice Department previously charged two individuals in March over the Frosties rug pull.
Another 3 accused of global crypto Ponzi scheme
The DoJ accused three individuals, Joshua David Nicholas, Flavio Goncalves, and Emerson Pires, of raising $100 million through a global crypto Ponzi scheme EmpireX.
According to the DoJ, the accused made several misrepresentations about their platform and fraudulently guaranteed returns to their investors.
The authorities discovered that the accused were laundering the funds through a foreign crypto exchange.
The DoJ charged Michael Alan Stollery with conducting a fake initial coin offering (ICO) for Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services, which raised $21 million from investors.
Per the watchdog, Stollery lied about the legitimacy of his platform to the public by fabricating false testimonials and fake partnerships with popular companies like Apple and federal agencies like the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.
Stollery faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
Illegal commodity pool
The Justice Department charged David Saffron with operating an unregistered commodity pool with his crypto investment platform Circle Society, raising $12 million from investors.
According to the DoJ, Saffron created a false appearance of wealth by meeting with his investors at luxury homes and also walking around with a team of armed security guards.
Saffron also lied about the abilities of his trading bot, promising as high as 600% returns on investments.
DoJ focused on curbing crypto-related crimes
Officials of the Justice Department have said that the department is focused on weeding out malicious players from the crypto industry.
According to U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California,
These cases serve as a crucial reminder that some con artists hide behind trendy buzzwords, but at the end of the day, they are simply seeking to separate people from their money.
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