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Crypto Hedge Funds Defraud $100 Million From Investors, Founder Faces 20 Years in Prison

The founder of two cryptocurrency hedge funds has been charged in U.S. federal court for securities fraud. He has pleaded guilty and is facing up to 20 years in prison. His two funds cumulatively had over $100 million in investments.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that Stefan He Qin, a 24-year-old Australian national and founder of two crypto hedge funds, has been charged with securities fraud and has pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court.

Qin “owned and controlled two cryptocurrency investment funds” called Virgil Sigma and VQR Multistrategy Fund between 2017 through 2020, the Justice Department described. Both funds were based in New York. According to the DOJ, the two funds had “over $100 million in investments.”

HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) Special Agent Peter Fitzhugh commented that “Qin mastered the art of trickery by representing these firms as profitable investment strategies so more victims fell to his tactics and were defrauded of nearly $100 million.”

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said Qin “drained almost all of the assets from the $90 million cryptocurrency fund he owned [the Virgil Sigma fund], stealing investors’ money, spending it on indulgences and speculative personal investments, and lying to investors about the performance of the fund and what he had done with their money.”

In addition, Strauss detailed that Qin admitted in federal court that he “attempted to steal money” from the VQR Multistrategy Fund “to meet redemption demands of the defrauded investors in the former fund.” Until recently, this fund had at least approximately $24 million under management from investors.

Qin pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. His sentencing has been scheduled for May 20.

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