US Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. has indicted New York investment banker Rashawn Russell for an alleged cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme, which could earn the suspect a maximum 20 years behind bars. Russell supposedly used at least $1m in cash from the scheme to fund his lavish lifestyle, including gambling.
Police in Brooklyn arrested Russell Monday and Judge Reyes charged the former FINRA-registered broker on Tuesday. The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York shared the news via Twitter:
Russel is charged with wire fraud, making false promises to clients of his R3 Crypto Fund firm, and for misusing their money to gamble and payout previous investors. Prosecutors allege the ex-banker was meticulous in assuring clients their money was safe by fabricating documents, including a fake wire transfer report.
seized on the demand for crypto as a way to fleece multiple investors
As per the Attorney’s Office press release, US Attorney Breon Peace said Russell had seized on the demand for crypto as a way to fleece multiple investors in order to maintain his high-flying lifestyle. Peace warned any future scammers that her office would “continue to aggressively pursue fraudsters perpetrating these schemes.”
Peace’s steely words should please the anti-crypto billionaire Charlie Munger, who in February likened cryptocurrencies to gambling and called on the US government to ban them.