The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has announced that a total of six executives of the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme AirBit Club have pleaded guilty to their role in an internationally coordinated series of charges of fraud and money laundering.
Over a five-year period, AirBit Club operators reportedly pulled in about $100 million. This includes co-founders Pablo Renato Rodriguez and Gutemberg Dos Santos, their attorney Scott Hughes, and AirBit promoters Cecilia Millan, Karina Chairez, and Jackie Aguilar, who have pleaded guilty to charges including bank fraud conspiracy, bank fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. cost
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said the six executives took advantage of the growing hype around the asset class to trick unsuspecting victims around the world out of millions of dollars with false promises that their money was being invested in cryptocurrency trading and mining.
“Instead of trading cryptocurrency or mining on behalf of investors, the defendants built a Ponzi scheme and took the money from the victims to line their own pockets. These guilty pleas send a clear signal that we are after all those who want to misuse cryptocurrency to commit fraud.”
According to law enforcement findings, Rodriguez, Dos Santos, Hughes, Chairez, and Millan requested that victims purchase memberships in cash using third-party cryptocurrency brokers. Illegal proceeds from the AirBit Club scheme were subsequently laundered through several domestic and foreign bank accounts, including a lawyer account managed by Hughes.
Using this account, the lawyer sent money to the personal expenses of the co-founders and promoters, as well as himself. These funds were also used for promotional events and sponsorships to further promote the AirBit Club program.
Spending on lavish exhibits, luxury homes
All of the defendants, who were first charged in August 2020, traveled the United States and Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe, staging “lavish” exhibits and small community presentations to convince victims to purchase AirBit Club memberships .
The prosecutors further stated that the victims were able to see “profits” collected on their online portal. However, no actual Bitcoin mining or trading took place on behalf of the victims. Instead, the scam operators “enriched” themselves, spending the money on cars, jewelry, and luxury homes, as well as funding more extravagant exhibits to get more victims.
Binance Free $100 (Exclusive): Use this link to register and get $100 free and 10% off Binance Futures in the first month (conditions).
PrimeXBT Special Offer: Use this link to register and enter the POTATO50 code to receive up to $7,000 on your deposits.