A British citizen has been sentenced to pay a fine of $571 million by a federal court in the United States for orchestrating a sham Bitcoin trading scheme. Per a statement from the American financial agency, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Benjamin Reynolds from Manchester, England, the culprit, scammed 169 people residing in the United States of America.
Reynolds has been ordered by the court to settle $143 million in damages to victims and also pay a $429 million civil monetary penalty. Reynolds allegedly got over 22,000 units of BTC from victims via public domains and emails where he urged them to invest in his phony business between 2017 May and October, and at least 1000 people fell for his scheme.
According to CFTC, he misled the victims into believing that his illegal company, Control-Finance, could help them generate profits on their investments. Not only that, he had a robust referral program where he encouraged his victims to refer his company to others while promising them rewards for their troubles. In the words of the commission,
Reynolds made no trades on customers’ behalf, earned no trading profits for them, and paid them no referral rewards or bonuses.
The commission added that accounts of the victims had false balances that are not backed up with any real crypto asset. The fraudster disappeared into thin air when the time arrived for him to pay his victims their agreed bonuses and wins from his platform:
As part of his plans to successfully carry out his scam, the court records also shows that the British national forged a Companies House documents to assure victims that he was operating a legitimate company.
Presently, Reynolds is still at large, however if he cannot be found, the court order requires US authorities to seize the accused’s properties, especially those in the United States, to satisfy the judgment.