Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff will plead guilty for his role in a cryptocurrency scam promoting AML BitCoin.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Abramoff with conspiracy and violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
Jack Abramoff promoted AML BitCoin, a blockchain-based token that supposedly improved upon Bitcoin, the world’s foremost virtual currency. AML Bitcoin was marketed with having encoded security features that would prevent its use for money laundering.
Cryptocurrency scam raked in millions
The fundraising campaign focused on the need for additional money to properly develop the security features that would be found in the coin.
The cryptocurrency venture raised over US$5.6 million [AUS$8.1 million] between August 2017 and December 2018. The funds came from roughly 2,400 investors.
AML BitCoin was promoted through a parent company, the NAC Foundation, which was founded by Rowland Marcus Andrade. The SEC pursued charges against both Abramoff and Andrade.
The SEC stated, “They deceived investors by, among other things, making false and misleading statements in press releases, social-media outlets, and other promotional materials regarding the status of the technology and governmental agencies’ interest in using AML BitCoin in their payment systems.”
Jack Abramoff, age 61, faces up to five years in prison for the charges he is pleading guilty to.
No stranger to trouble
Abramoff has been to prison before. He was an extremely successful lobbyist in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was at the center of a massive corruption scandal that resulted in the conviction or guilty pleas of a member of the House of Representatives, two officials in the George W. Bush administration, and nine other congressional aides and lobbyists.
As for Jack Abramoff, he was sentenced to six years in prison for tax evasion, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and mail fraud. He was released in December 2010 after serving 43 months.
As for the cryptocurrency scam, Abramoff was a major part of a reality TV show in 2017 called “Capitol Makeover: Bitcoin Brigade.” The purpose of the show was to feature Abramoff taking charge of a group from AML BitCoin in a boot camp to give them the skills to move from being techies to full-fledged lobbyists capable of holding their own on Capitol Hill.