Crypto

US Prosecutors Charge New Suspect in $45M Blockchain Fraud ‘CoinDeal’

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US
prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against a new suspect, Bryan Lee, 57, for his
alleged involvement in ‘CoinDeal’, a fraudulent investment scheme that raised
$45 million by selling unregistered securities. Neil Chandran, the mastermind
behind the scheme, was arrested in June last year and indicted for wire fraud
and monetary transaction in unlawful proceeds.

Despite a
similar brand, the scheme has no connection with CoinDeal, a St. Vincent and
Grenadines-based crypto exchange run by Adam Bicz and Kajetan Maćkowiak.

Earlier in
January, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC ) charged Chandran and
four other individuals for their involvement in the scheme. The securities regulator named the individuals as Garry Davidson, Michael Glaspie, Amy Mossel and Linda Knott.

According to the regulator, the individuals through three entities: AEO Publishing Inc, Banner Co-Op, Inc, and BannersGo,
LLC, were involved in the sale of unregistered securities between January 2019 to 2022.

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In the
latest on the case, the US Department of Justice disclosed on Friday that Lee will make an initial appearance
before a federal court in Las Vegas as part of its prosecution. The public
prosecutor noted that Lee conspired with Chandran and others to defraud
investors via companies controlled by the latter.

How
Chandran Ran ‘CoinDeal’

According
to US prosecutors, Chandran and his cohort ran various companies under the nane
‘CoinDeal’. The firms, which were also operated under the banner of ‘ViRSE,’ included
Free Vi Lab, Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc., ViMarket Inc., and Skalex USA
Inc., among others.

Citing
court documents, the prosecutors explained that Chandra falsely claimed that
they were developing virtual-world or blockchain technologies, including their own
cryptocurrency, for use in a metaverse. They also misled investors by promising
“extremely high returns,” claiming that the company was about to be purchased by
a group of wealthy buyers.

In
particular, prosecutors said Lee was the nominee and director of ViMarket. In
this role, he followed Chandran’s directives on how to disburse investor funds
sent into ViMarket’s bank accounts.

Furthermore,
DOJ alleges that both executives misappropriated “millions of dollars of
investor funds and spent them on luxury cars and real estate.” The prosecutor
said over 10,000 victims were affected by the scheme.

“Lee is
charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud,
one count of wire fraud, and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions
in criminally derived property,” the DOJ said in a statement. “If convicted, Lee faces up to 20
years in prison for each of the wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy counts,
and up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in unlawful monetary
transactions.”

Meanwhile,
the public prosecutor noted that Michael Glaspie, who helped to market’s
Chandran’s companies, pled guilty to wire fraud in February and will be
sentenced on June 16.

US
prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against a new suspect, Bryan Lee, 57, for his
alleged involvement in ‘CoinDeal’, a fraudulent investment scheme that raised
$45 million by selling unregistered securities. Neil Chandran, the mastermind
behind the scheme, was arrested in June last year and indicted for wire fraud
and monetary transaction in unlawful proceeds.

Despite a
similar brand, the scheme has no connection with CoinDeal, a St. Vincent and
Grenadines-based crypto exchange run by Adam Bicz and Kajetan Maćkowiak.

Earlier in
January, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC ) charged Chandran and
four other individuals for their involvement in the scheme. The securities regulator named the individuals as Garry Davidson, Michael Glaspie, Amy Mossel and Linda Knott.

According to the regulator, the individuals through three entities: AEO Publishing Inc, Banner Co-Op, Inc, and BannersGo,
LLC, were involved in the sale of unregistered securities between January 2019 to 2022.

Keep Reading

In the
latest on the case, the US Department of Justice disclosed on Friday that Lee will make an initial appearance
before a federal court in Las Vegas as part of its prosecution. The public
prosecutor noted that Lee conspired with Chandran and others to defraud
investors via companies controlled by the latter.

How
Chandran Ran ‘CoinDeal’

According
to US prosecutors, Chandran and his cohort ran various companies under the nane
‘CoinDeal’. The firms, which were also operated under the banner of ‘ViRSE,’ included
Free Vi Lab, Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc., ViMarket Inc., and Skalex USA
Inc., among others.

Citing
court documents, the prosecutors explained that Chandra falsely claimed that
they were developing virtual-world or blockchain technologies, including their own
cryptocurrency, for use in a metaverse. They also misled investors by promising
“extremely high returns,” claiming that the company was about to be purchased by
a group of wealthy buyers.

In
particular, prosecutors said Lee was the nominee and director of ViMarket. In
this role, he followed Chandran’s directives on how to disburse investor funds
sent into ViMarket’s bank accounts.

Furthermore,
DOJ alleges that both executives misappropriated “millions of dollars of
investor funds and spent them on luxury cars and real estate.” The prosecutor
said over 10,000 victims were affected by the scheme.

“Lee is
charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud,
one count of wire fraud, and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions
in criminally derived property,” the DOJ said in a statement. “If convicted, Lee faces up to 20
years in prison for each of the wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy counts,
and up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in unlawful monetary
transactions.”

Meanwhile,
the public prosecutor noted that Michael Glaspie, who helped to market’s
Chandran’s companies, pled guilty to wire fraud in February and will be
sentenced on June 16.

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