My Big Coin founder guilty of $6 million crypto fraud • The Register

A jury convicted a fraudster who set up a business called My Big Coin to scam victims out of more than $6 million.

Randall Crater, 51, of East Hampton, New York, was convicted this week [PDF] Four counts of electronic fraud and three counts of money laundering.

He is due to be sentenced by a US federal judge on October 27. Each electronic fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while each money laundering charge carries up to a decade behind bars.

Crater founded the now-dead company in Las Vegas in 2013 and lured signs to buy a fake virtual currency called My Big Coin. My purchased big coins will obviously be stored in online accounts provided by the scammer’s outfit, and the tokens have been told that the tokens can be exchanged for other currencies and used to buy goods and services.

Between 2014 and 2017, Crater and his companions told victims not to worry because the fake cryptocurrency was backed by $300 million in gold, oil, and “other assets,” according to court documents. [PDF].

Crater also claimed that the company had a partnership with MasterCard, which allowed it to offer the My Big Coin MasterCard. This was described as a credit card that could use funds from the customer’s currency account. Prosecutors say Crater and his crew marketed all these lies via social media, the Internet, email and text messages.

However, in reality, there was no gold or other assets nor any MasterCard partnership. The currencies could not be easily transferred or used for anything: the victims were just handing over their money.

Over the course of his scheme, Crater netted more than $6 million from people, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on antiques, artwork, and jewelry, according to prosecutors. We were told that this included an $87,008 “rare stone” that Crater bought, along with other items, at the New York auction house Lord and Guy.

In January 2018, the US government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced commodity fraud charges against Crater and My Big Coin, and also filed civil charges against My Big Coin CEO John Roach, and two Crater associates, Mark Gillespie and Michael Krueger.

Crater was arrested and charged with criminal offense a year later in Florida for his role in the fraud, and was convicted Thursday this week after his trial.

In another crypto fraud case this week, a former Coinbase manager, brother and friend have been charged with conspiracy to wire fraud and electronic fraud. Prosecutors described it as the first insider trading scheme for cryptocurrency in the United States.

Ishan Wahi, a 32-year-old former product manager at Coinbase Global who lives in Seattle, Washington, and his 26-year-old brother Nikhil Wahi, also from Seattle, were arrested Thursday morning.

The third conspirator, Sameer Ramani, 33, of Houston, Texas, is still at large.

The US Department of Justice and the FBI allege that the three men pulled out $1.5 million for insider trading by exploiting confidential Coinbase information about crypto assets that were to be listed on the Coinbase platform. ®

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