‘Cryptocurrency’ Founder Indicted Over Alleged $6m Scam

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The founder of a US ‘cryptocurrency’ firm has been charged with multiple counts of fraud after allegedly swindling investors out of millions.

Randall Crater, 48, of East Hampton, New York, was arrested last week and charged in an indictment filed in the District of Massachusetts with four counts of wire fraud and three counts of unlawful monetary transactions.

The charges are linked to his company, My Big Coin Pay, and the allegedly fraudulent gold-backed currency he created and marketed to investors: My Big Coins.

The indictment claims he told an investor “we have 300 million in gold backing us,” but the reality was apparently very different.

In fact, the Coins were allegedly not backed by gold or any other valuable assets and were not readily transferable. Instead, he and two others, including co-founder Mark Gillespie, are said to have misappropriated around $6m in investor funds.

Some $500,000 of these stolen funds are said to have been spent by Crater at a New York auction house on antique coins and jewelry, artwork, decorative figures and a rare stone.

The scam is said to have run from 2014 to 2017, with the accused apparently building websites and social media accounts to lend credibility to the company.

Also last week, two individuals were charged with a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme involving a fintech start-up.

Michael A. Liberty, 58, of Windermere, Florida, and Paul Hess, 63, of Braintree, Massachusetts, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud.

They are alleged to have diverted investor funds to their own bank accounts after raising millions for Mozido, a mobile payments company.

The two cases highlight the dangers facing investors in technology companies — especially cryptocurrency — where fraudsters are primed to take advantage of industry hype.

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