Brian Lee, a 57-year-old resident of Las Vegas, has been indicted for his involvement in the CoinDeal cryptocurrency scam, which swindled over $45 million from more than 10,000 investors.
As per a press release by the US Department of Justice, Lee conspired with Neil Chandran and other individuals associated with CoinDeal to defraud investors in companies controlled by Chandran.
These companies operated under the ViRSE brand, including Free Vi Lab, Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc., ViMarket Inc., and Scalex USA Inc. Allegedly, these companies were linked to virtual reality and were developing their own cryptocurrency for use in the metaverse.
Lee, who served as the nominal owner and director of ViMarket, received instructions from Chandran to transfer client funds from ViMarket bank accounts. Prosecutors claim that Lee and Chandran misappropriated several million dollars belonging to investors, spending the money on luxury real estate and cars.
Lee has been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and criminal transactions. If convicted, he could face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for each count of the charges, as well as up to 10 years for each count related to illegal money transactions.
In January of this year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against Chandran and other individuals involved in the CoinDeal scheme. Chandran himself was arrested in June 2022.
Additionally, in February 2023, Michael Glaspie, another member of the CoinDeal cryptocurrency scheme, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16.
It is worth noting that in April, the US Department of Justice seized cryptocurrency assets valued at $112 million from money laundering scammers. Furthermore, earlier this year, the agency announced that over $17 million in compensation would be provided to approximately 800 investors affected by the BitConnect cryptocurrency pyramid scheme.