Co-founder Pablo Renato Rodriguez and all three main lenders recently pleaded guilty, while the other co-founder pleaded guilty in October 2021.
Six people involved in a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme that netted nearly $100 million over five years have pleaded guilty to numerous counts of fraud and money laundering, each of which could can be imprisoned for 20 to 30 years.
One of the founders of “AirBit Club”, Pablo Renato Rodriguez, was the last person to plead guilty to wire fraud conspiracy on March 8th.
According to a March 8 filing from the US Department of Justice, AirBit Club was a fake cryptocurrency mining and trading company that operated between 2015 and 2020, where managers and promoters sent victim investors to believe that they will earn a guaranteed passive income and profit from each member purchased.
According to the DOJ, the criminals traveled throughout the United States, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe selling AirBit in “glamorous scenarios” to get investors to buy AirBit Club memberships.
Victims saw the “benefits” of the AirBit Club online portal, but no actual mining or transactions ever took place. One victim who was trying to get out asked him to “borrow a new car” into the AirBit Club program to withdraw his money.
U.S. The lawyer lae. Damian Williams said the company used victims’ money to buy luxury cars, homes and jewellery. Some of the proceeds were used to fund several exhibits to recruit more victims and:
“The defendants took advantage of the growing awareness of cryptocurrency to defraud unsuspecting victims around the world of millions of dollars with false promises that their funds were being invested in cryptocurrency trading and mining. ” .
“Instead of cryptocurrency or mining on behalf of investors, the defendants built a Ponzi scheme and took victims’ money to line their own pockets,” he added.
The defendants were first charged Aug. 18, 2020 at 10:00 p.m.
Senior frontrunners Cecilia Millan, Jackie Aguilar and Karina Chairez have since each pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, bank fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy in Jan. 31 Feb. 8 and Feb. 22, respectively , while another founder, Gutenberg Dos Santos, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy on Oct. 22, respectively. 21. 2021, according to a March 8 notification.
“These crimes send a clear message that we are coming after all those who want to use cryptocurrency to commit fraud,” Williams said.
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Companies have been ordered to confiscate their fraudulent AirBit Club funds, including fiat currencies, real estate and Bitcoin
, totaling about $100 million.
Cointelegraph found that there are still videos of AirBit Club representatives marketing the membership program on YouTube.
The scheme often uses the hashtag “#AirBitBillionaireClub” and shares a number of fake investor success stories in an attempt to attract more victims.
California attorney Scott Hughes, accused of laundering proceeds from the scheme, also pleaded guilty to money laundering charges March 2.
Rodriguez, Millan, Aguilar, Chairez and Hughes will be sentenced on separate dates between June and August of this year.
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