According to an official press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, a federal grand jury indicted Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson in July 2019.
The 45-year-old Swedish citizen was charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Karlsson allegedly used his company, Eastern Metal Securities, in addition to a number of fake online identities, to advertise shares in a product called a “Pre-Funded Reversed Pension Plan.”
He is accused of fraudulently luring investors into paying almost $100 per share in the company on the assurance of an eventual payout of 1.15 kilograms of gold per share.
Karlsson took payment in Bitcoin and amassed over $11 million worth from an estimated 3,575 duped investors, promising to pay back 97% of their investments in the event that the gold payout didn’t happen.
Investigators found no evidence that he was in the position to make these payments and discovered that funds provided by victims had been transferred to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts and now appear to be tied up in real estate in Thailand.
It was not disclosed how Karlsson moved his Bitcoin around but local exchanges or OTC trading would have likely been the easiest method.
In a related story, a Brooklyn crypto scammer was sentenced to 18 months behind bars, becoming the first person to serve time for running an ICO scam.
Computer programmer Maksim Zaslavskiy launched an ICO for a real estate based token called Recoin.
He falsely claimed that it was backed by property investments in the US and overseas, led by a team of experienced real estate professionals.
The ICO frenzy two years ago enabled Zaslavskiy to net over $300,000 from 1,000 who took the bait in the dodgy ICO.
One of the many topics discussed at last week’s Blockshow in Singapore was how to stop bad actors from perpetrating their scams in the crypto space.
One thing that cybersecurity experts were able to agree on is that blacklists won’t be enough to stop scammers and fraudsters.
Crypto exchanges already have their own blacklists but combining them together into a unified list may not be so simple.
Managing director at Chainalysis, Ulisse Dell’Orto, noted that to be able to even begin to establish such a list, a “high level of evaluation about how data is gathered” is needed.
Some companies, he pointed out, use algorithms to automate their data analysis, making it difficult to justify where the data comes from.
CEO at Crystal Blockchain Analytics, Marina Khaustova, said that a single blacklist would have limitations, adding that it isn’t a proactive enough process and there is not enough data to identify patterns of fraudulent behaviors.
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