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US Prosecutors Charge New Suspect in $45M Blockchain Fraud ‘CoinDeal’

Finance Magnates

Cryptocoins News / Finance Magnates 15 Views

US prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against a new suspect, Bryan Lee, 57, for his alleged involvement in ‘CoinDeal’, a fraudulent investment scheme that raised $45 million by selling unregistered securities. Neil Chandran, the mastermind behind the scheme, was arrested in June last year and indicted for wire fraud and monetary transaction in unlawful proceeds.

Despite a similar brand, the scheme has no connection with CoinDeal, a St. Vincent and Grenadines-based crypto exchange run by Adam Bicz and Kajetan Maćkowiak.

SEC Arraigns ‘CoinDeal’ Promoters

Earlier in January, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Chandran and four other individuals for their involvement in the scheme. The securities regulator named the individuals as Garry Davidson, Michael Glaspie, Amy Mossel and Linda Knott.

According to the regulator, the individuals through three entities: AEO Publishing Inc, Banner Co-Op, Inc, and BannersGo, LLC, were involved in the sale of unregistered securities between January 2019 to 2022.

In the latest on the case, the US Department of Justice disclosed on Friday that Lee will make an initial appearance before a federal court in Las Vegas as part of its prosecution. The public prosecutor noted that Lee conspired with Chandran and others to defraud investors via companies controlled by the latter.

How Chandran Ran ‘CoinDeal’

According to US prosecutors, Chandran and his cohort ran various companies under the name ‘CoinDeal’. The firms, which were also operated under the banner of ‘ViRSE’, included Free Vi Lab, Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc., ViMarket Inc., and Skalex USA Inc., among others.

Citing court documents, the prosecutors explained that Chandra falsely claimed that they were developing virtual-world or blockchain technologies, including their own cryptocurrency, for use in a metaverse. On top of that, they misled investors by promising “extremely high returns,” claiming that the company was about to be purchased by a group of wealthy buyers.

In particular, prosecutors said Lee was the nominee and Director of ViMarket. In this role, he followed Chandran’s directives on how to disburse investor funds sent to ViMarket’s bank accounts.

Furthermore, the DOJ alleges that both executives misappropriated “millions of dollars of investor funds and spent them on luxury cars and real estate." The prosecutor said over 10,000 victims were affected by the scheme.

“Lee is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property,” the DOJ said in a statement. “If convicted, Lee faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy counts, and up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.”

Meanwhile, the public prosecutor noted that Michael Glaspie, who helped to market’s Chandran’s companies, pled guilty to wire fraud in February and will be sentenced on June 16.

This article was written by Solomon Oladipupo at www.financemagnates.com.

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