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Suspects of $722M Fraudulent Crypto Scheme Seek Release Over Fear Of Coronavirus 

Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, two jailed men allegedly behind a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme have asked the New Jersey federal court to set them free from the county jail, saying an outbreak of the virus is inevitable once it hits the facility. 

The suspects, Matthew Brent Goettsche and Jobadiah Sinclair Weeks, were detained in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey, over accusation of bilking $722 million from investors through their cryptocurrency mining pool company dubbed BitClub Network.

According to a report by Law360, Goettsche and Weeks filed motions five days ago, asking the court to release them due to their health and safety. At the same time, they raised concerns about the difficulties in meeting with their attorneys while behind bars. 

In a letter to the United States District Judge, Claire C. Cecchi, the attorney representing Goettsche, Rodney Villazor, said, “it is not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ the DOC [Department of Corrections] has its COVID-19 outbreak. Once the virus is introduced, it will be nearly impossible to stop its spread.”

The attorneys representing Weeks also reiterated these points while seeking his release on Monday. Citing a report from the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the attorneys said that the county jail has “an exceptionally poor record of maintaining detainee health.”

Investigators from DHS disclosed different health and food safety concerns at the Essex County Correctional Facility, which indicated a lack of concern for detainees. “Adding a highly contagious virus to the mix results in a recipe for disaster.”

Weeks’ lawyers related the possibility of a 23-hour lockdown at the jail in order to prevent exposure to the Coronavirus. According to the attorneys, Weeks may not be able to review discovery if he is placed in a “perpetual lockdown.”


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