- The US Department of Justice announces the conviction of a man that pilfered thousands of dollars in cryptocurrencies.
- The scheme involved posing as a UN affiliate and using wire fraud to swindle individuals.
- He faces up to 20 years in jail at his sentencing in July.
Cryptocurrency scams are casting a dark cloud over the entire ecosystem while law enforcement agencies scramble to rein in the chaos. The latest is the conviction of an individual that defrauded individuals with the IGOBIT digital token.
In 2019, Federal prosecutors charged Asa Saint Clair for fraudulently convincing individuals to invest in IGOBIT digital currency in exchange for equity in World Sports Alliance. After nearly three years of legal drama, the jury found him guilty of charges as announced in a press statement by the US Justice Department.
According to US Attorney Damian Williams, “as a jury has now found, Asa Saint Clair used lies to defraud everyday people out of their hard-earned money by promising them guaranteed returns if they invested in a IGObit, a digital currency he claimed the World Sports Alliance was creating.” Williams noted that it was a sham and the defendant was only using the fictitious organization to “promote the balance of his bank accounts.”
Saint Clair was found guilty of one count charge of wire fraud in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 and faces up to 20 years in prison which is the maximum as prescribed by Congress. Saint Clair defrauded over 60 individuals off thousands of dollars with the funds diverted towards personal expenses like dinners in expensive restaurants and travel. The press release noted that sentencing is scheduled for July 19, 2022, before Judge Castel.
Williams praised the contributions of Homeland Security Investigations for their stellar work in bringing the case to a close. The Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit was in charge of the prosecution.
The Modus Operandi
Saint Clair’s mode of operation was posing as the president of a non-existent United Nations affiliate, luring victims to gain equity by buying into the IGOBIT digital currency that was never built.
A US attorney said that the World Sports Alliance was “a vehicle to defraud lenders” while he diverted the funds for his personal use. Saint Clair claimed that the company was geared towards the promotion of the values of sports and peace for a better world, which piqued the interest of his investors.
Scams around cryptocurrencies have been on the increase since 2018 with investors losing millions of dollars to bad actors. Law enforcement agencies have released warnings that offer tips on how citizens can keep themselves safe from potential cryptocurrency scams.