Some executives of cryptocurrency firm, AirBit Club have pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering levied against them by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ).
If sentenced, the six executives, Pablo Renato Rodriguez, Gutemberg Dos Santos, Scott Hughes, Cecilia Millan, Karina Chairez, and Jackie Aguilar, co-founders and promoters of AirBit Club should be serving up to 20 years in prison for their role in the scheme, with sentencing scheduled for June and July.
The defendants according to the DoJ were charged for their roles in an internationally coordinated fraud and money laundering ring that deceived individuals into investing in AirBit Club, a purported cryptocurrency mining and trading company.
“The defendants took advantage of the growing hype around cryptocurrency to con unsuspecting victims around the world out of millions of dollars with false promises that their money was being invested in cryptocurrency trading and mining.
“Instead of doing any cryptocurrency trading or mining on behalf of investors, the defendants built a Ponzi scheme and took the victims’ money to line their own pockets. These guilty pleas send a clear message that we are coming after all of those who seek to exploit cryptocurrency to commit fraud,” Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said.
The DoJ added that as part of their guilty pleas, the defendants collectively have been ordered to forfeit their fraudulent proceeds of Airbit Club, which include seized or restrained assets consisting of U.S. currency, Bitcoin, and real estate currently valued at approximately $100 million.