The United States has announced plans to sell tens of millions of dollars’ worth of seized crypto-currency to compensate victims of fraud.
On Friday, US District Judge Todd Robinson granted a request from the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California for authority to liquidate BitConnect crypto-currency worth approximately $56m.
The digital fortune was amassed by BitConnect’s self-described “number one promoter,” 44-year-old Glenn Arcaro of Los Angeles. United States authorities seized the crypto-currency as the proceeds of crime after Arcaro admitted being involved in an international fraud scheme.
On September 1, Arcaro pleaded guilty to participating in a massive conspiracy to defraud BitConnect investors in the United States and abroad.
Under the scheme, Arcaro and others conned victims out of $2bn. By concealing and misrepresenting the truth on social media, the fraudsters made it appear to investors that BitConnect’s purported proprietary technology (BitConnect Trading Bot and Volatility Software) could generate substantial profits and guaranteed returns, trading on the volatility of crypto-currency exchange markets.
“In truth, BitConnect operated a textbook Ponzi scheme by paying earlier BitConnect investors with money from later investors,” stated the Office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of California.
Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office said Arcaro had defrauded thousands of individuals worldwide.
The BitConnect case is still actively being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.
Arcaro is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal district court judge in the new year, on January 7. The self-confessed fraudster could receive a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Plans to liquidate the crypto-currency to benefit victims of the BitConnect fraud were shared on Tuesday by the Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs.
The Office said that the BitConnect scheme is the largest crypto-currency fraud scheme ever charged criminally and the planned liquidation is “the largest single recovery of a crypto-currency fraud by the United States to date.”
All potential victims of the BitConnect scheme are advised to visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/us-v-glenn-arcaro-21cr02542-twr.