The Southern District of New York court sentenced Pablo Renato Rodriguez, co-founder of the international cryptocurrency pyramid AirBit Club, to 12 years in prison with the possibility of parole after three years.
According to the case, in 2015, Rodriguez, together with Gutemberg Dos Santos, created a scheme to attract cash, promising daily income from investments in cryptocurrency trading and mining. Promoters promoted AirBit Club around the world through expensive presentations.
In their personal accounts, users could see growing balances, but this was a fiction. Those who tried to withdraw funds were offered a commission of 50% of the requested amount by the organizers of the scheme. Some depositors complained that they faced the closure of accounts allegedly due to the “financial crisis caused by the coronavirus.”
Rodriguez, Dos Santos and three of their accomplices – Scott Hughes, Cecilia Millan and Karina Chaires – laundered the proceeds through cryptocurrencies, trust accounts and fictitious companies, subsequently using them for personal needs.
The total fraudulent income from AirBit Club amounted to approximately $100 million. The court intends to confiscate these assets.
In particular, Rodriguez, in addition to the prison term, is obliged to pay $65 million in compensation and transfer to the state revenue ~$1 million from the accounts of the company on the balance sheet of his Gulfstream Jet, 3822.98 BTC (more than $100 million at the time of writing), $896,483 in cash , a residence in California, as well as various watches and jewelry.
Dos Santos, Hughes, Millan and Chaires pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to commit money laundering and to commit bank fraud. The combined maximum penalty for the three counts is 70 years in prison. They are now awaiting sentencing.
Let us remind you that in 2019 AirBit Club became one of the largest pyramids in the Russian Federation. According to the Bank of Russia, about 60,000 people were involved in it, and the amount of investments exceeded 500 million rubles.
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