American authorities revealed that an ICO fraudster pleaded guilty to illicitly obtaining as much as $7 million coronavirus relief fund and spending it on luxury purchases. Reportedly, the New York-based 24 years old Justin Cheng acquired the pandemic relief using fake loan applications and misleading numerous clients in coin offerings two years ago.
In a statement issued on April 20, the American Department of Justice said the swindler submitted a flurry of requests that were accompanied by forged tax and pay records between May and August 2020.
Per the details provided by the Justice Department, the Taiwanese national’s forms featured fake payroll records and IRS numbers, projecting that as many as two hundred workers in his firm were taking home nearly $1.5 million in salary.
Interestingly, the names featured in his applications were familiar as he used former and current celebrities as well as public figures, including the presenters of a famous American morning show. Apart from submitting requests with several financial institutions, Cheng sent requests to the federal agencies for assistance.
In the end, the fraudster managed to acquire a whopping $7 million, and the federal agency claims that he spent most of it on expensive purchases, including a watch and fancy addition to his garage. Audrey Strauss, the US Attorney, said,
Cheng lied to the SBA and several banks about ownership of his companies, the number of people employed, and how any loan proceeds would be applied, using forged and fraudulent documents in the process. Cheng spent much of the money on personal luxury items.
Moreover, the Taiwanese national also pleaded guilty to operating illegal ICOs. Two years ago, after making false claims about his company’s finances, he convinced investors to participate in his ICO firm, even though it was unlicensed. A district court set August 3 as his sentencing date, with the self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” facing more than 80 years in prison.