The founders and promoters of multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme Airbit Club have pleaded guilty to various criminal charges. Airbit Club victims were promised “guaranteed daily returns on every membership purchased,” the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
The operators and promoters of Airbit Club plead guilty
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Wednesday that six people behind Airbit Club, a crypto Ponzi scheme that purported to be a cryptocurrency mining and trading company, pleaded guilty.
The six individuals are Airbit Club co-founders (Pablo Renato Rodríguez and Gutemberg Dos Santos), senior promoters (Carina Chairez, Cecilia Milan and Jackie Aguilar) and a lawyer who laundered Airbit Club’s fraud proceeds (Scott Hughes). According to the DOJ:
As part of their guilty pleas, the defendants were collectively ordered to forfeit their fraudulent proceeds from Airbit Club, which included seized or seized assets consisting of U.S. currency, bitcoins, and real estate, currently valued at approximately $100 million .
The promoters “falsely promised victims that Airbit Club earned returns from cryptocurrency mining and trading and that victims would earn passive, guaranteed daily returns from each membership purchased,” the DOJ said.
The Department of Justice explained that in early to late 2015, the defendants advertised Airbit Club as a “multi-level marketing club in the cryptocurrency industry.” They traveled around the world to organize “lavish exhibitions and small public presentations” in the US, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe to convince victims to buy Airbit Club cash memberships. After purchasing a membership, victims were given access to an online portal with false representations of profits from mining or trading Bitcoin, when in fact no such activity took place.
The Department of Justice described:
Instead, Rodriguez, dos Santos, Milan and Aguilar enriched themselves and spent the victims’ money on cars, jewelry and luxury homes and financed more extravagant exposures to recruit more victims.
Many victims encountered obstacles when they tried to withdraw money from Airbit Club’s online portal back in 2016, the DOJ said, adding that complaints made to the promoter “were met with apologies, delays and hidden fees amounting to more than 50% of the Withdrawal is requested by the victim.” Some victims were unable to withdraw funds at all.
All six pleaded guilty to various charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The maximum potential sentence on these charges is 20 years, 20 years and 30 years in prison, respectively.
How many years do you think the founders and organizers of Airbit Club should go to jail? Let us know in the comments section below.
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