New York Man Pleads Guilty to $1.3 Million Crypto and Real Estate Fraud Scheme

Last week, a New York man admitted to defrauding investors out of more than $1.3 million through a series of elaborate fake cryptocurrency and real estate schemes report says.

Thomas John Sfraga, also known by the alias “T.J. Stone,” deceived over a dozen victims, including friends and neighbors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Sfraga marketed himself as a seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio, claiming expertise in real estate development, media relations, podcasting, and cryptocurrencies. He even purported to have hosted crypto events in New York City.

Central to Sfraga’s fraud were fictitious companies he claimed to own, named Vandelay Contracting Corp. and Build Strong Homes LLC. The U.S. Attorney’s Office speculated that “Vandelay” might be a nod to Vandelay Industries, a fictional company from the television show “Seinfeld.”

Sfraga’s schemes involved convincing victims in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island to invest in what he described as lucrative real estate projects. He falsely claimed to purchase, renovate, and flip residential properties. Additionally, he duped one investor into funding a fake cryptocurrency wallet and persuaded another to invest $100,000 in a non-existent construction project.

Instead of using the money for legitimate investments, Sfraga diverted the funds for personal enrichment and to pay off earlier investors.

Facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, Sfraga has also been ordered to pay over $1.33 million in restitution.

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