According to recent reports, the operators and top executives of AirBit Club, a business that offers crypto mining and trading services, have pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering allegations.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said the defendants exploited the increasing excitement around digital currencies. They deceived unsuspecting victims globally of millions of dollars with false assurances of high profits.
Airbit Executives To Forfeit $100 Million Worth Of Assets
Meanwhile, due to their guilty plea, the defendants must surrender the profits they gained through Airbit Club’s fraudulent activities. The assets restrained or seized property by Airbit include Bitcoin, U.S. currency, and real estate, with a total valuation of about $100 million.
In addition, the attorney highlighted that instead of trading or mining digital currencies for their clients, the defendants established a Ponzi scheme. Furthermore, they utilized the funds received from victims to sustain it.
Notably, the top executives who have pleaded guilty to the crime include Scott Hughes, Karina Chairez, Cecilia Millan, Jackie Aguilar, Gutemberg Dos Santos, and Pablo Renato Rodriguez. According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), AirBit Club refused to fulfil victims’ withdrawal demands several times.
The DoJ emphasized that since 2016, the AirBit Club Online Portal has suffered delays, with the company giving excuses every time. Undisclosed fees also added up to over 50% of the requested withdrawal from victims since 2016.
According to the statement, to convince their targets to invest in AirBit, the executives hosted extravagant expos and private community presentations. Apart from the United States, they also traveled to various locations in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America for more investors.
Executives Could Face 20 Years In Prison
Reports reveal that the executives accumulated wealth using their victims’ funds to acquire costly mansions, vehicles, and expensive jewelry. At the beginning of 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office unsealed an indictment that charged the firm’s executives with involvement in an international scheme where they defrauded investors and laundered millions of dollars.
As the year progressed, law enforcement agencies were able to apprehend the main culprits of the cryptocurrency investment scam. In August, Dos Santos was apprehended in Panama for his involvement in the scheme. Although the Judge has not declared the verdict, the U.S. Congress has already established a maximum sentence for such cases.
Those guilty of conspiracy-related offenses may face a sentence of up to 20 years. Meanwhile, wire theft and money laundering are punishable by up to 20 years each.
However, the most severe penalty is for bank fraud, with a sentence of 30 years.
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