The U.S. Attorney, Billy J. Williams on April 24, announced a 13-count indictment of two Nigerian nationals, who allegedly defrauded victims of their Bitcoins via fake online crypto investment schemes.
As per the indictment, the Nigerians are Kelvin Usifoh (age unknown) and Onwuemerie Ogor Gift (age 24). Each of the alleged fraudsters was charged with money laundering and wire fraud up to 11 counts.
They used www.wealthcurrency.com and two other websites, which includes www.boomcurrency.com and www.merrycurrency.com, to carry out their fraudulent Bitcoin schemes.
On these websites, they promised investors:
- A 20-50% returns on a bitcoin investment,
- Zero risk and immediate withdrawals
- To invest client bitcoins using “unique trading methods.”
- To maintain the “constant high-interest rate.”
To get these benefits, victims were to transfer Bitcoin to specific private virtual currency wallets. Upon receiving the funds, the fraudsters would move it to another wallet to obfuscate its source before converting it to Nigerian Naira.
From the start of December 2017 till June 2018 as claimed by the indictment, Gift and Usifoh defrauded three victims, one from Oregon and two others from California, while they used the fourth victim’s image to boost their scheme by creating a false persona.
Within that six month period, the alleged fraudsters gained 10.88 Bitcoin (BTC) which approximately sums to $59,000 from the three victims. In totality, the Government believes that they amassed at least 50 BTC from their schemes.
The indictment means that authorities have officially accused the alleged fraudsters of the crime, giving them a chance to accept or deny it. The U.S SEC also released a guideline to educate investors on how to identify fake crypto trading platforms.
In another report involving the harmful use of cryptocurrencies, Coinfomania reported earlier this week that Callaway Crain and Mark Sanchez, men who pleaded guilty to laundering $2.8 million via cryptocurrency would likely get a 2.5 – 7.5-year jail term.