Online digital currency is a totally novel thing, so it makes sense that rules and regulations have taken some time to catch up with the technological advancements in recent years. One area of interest for police has been cryptocurrency fraud, the act of using fraudulent and worthless digital crypto coins and tokens to trick people into putting money into a scam.
One recent example of this has led to a former investment banker pleading guilty to cryptocurrency investment fraud. 27-year-old Rashawn Russell said that he intentionally committed fraud against various clients.
Russel set up a ‘business’ called R3 Crypto Fund and then solicited various investors to put money into the scam. When potential clients would invest or purchase the alleged digital currency, Russell would actually unlawfully take down the credit card information and other financial details associated with the client’s accounts. Russell promised the investors would make substantial returns on their investments as time went on.
This scam allegedly went on between November 2020 and August of 2022.
Instead of clients receiving returns, Russell misused the money he earned for personal gains and gambling. He also used a lot of money to repay earlier investors for their investments. At least 29 individuals were scammed out of at least $1.5 million.
On top of that, Russell also pulled off a totally separate fraudulent scheme between September of 2021 and June of 2023. In this second scam, Russell reportedly stole the credit card information of at least fifteen individuals under the names of third parties.
As a result of these actions, Russell was charged with cryptocurrency investment fraud. He has decided to plead guilty, which could result in up to 30 years in prison. He’s also been ordered to pay at least $1.5 million in restitution.
Cryptocurrency Fraud: What to Know
Cryptocurrency fraud is an extremely serious crime, which is why it carries such hefty penalties. If you’ve recently been charged with cryptocurrency fraud, securities fraud, or any similar type of crime, then it’s important to seek out legal counsel as soon as possible.
A solid lawyer will help you get a better understanding of your exact charges, the penalties associated with them, and any potential defense strategies that may be available for you to utilize. As was the case with Russell, there may be times when pleading guilty is your best option. Pleading guilty might be a good choice when prosecutors have a ton of evidence against you, you know you committed the crime, and you’re looking to reduce the potential criminal consequences you’ll likely face.
Often, in exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors will agree to a more favorable legal outcome for you. That could include reduced charges, fewer criminal penalties, or even clearing you of other additional charges you were hit with.
That being said, you should still consult with an attorney before deciding to plead guilty. You want to make sure that you have a reasonable agreement in place before you do so. Otherwise, you could only make your situation worse.
If you’re in Brooklyn, then we can help. Schedule a consultation with our team now to learn more.