The Criminal Defense Blog


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According to a DOJ Press Release, Rashawn Russell former investment banker from Brooklyn, has been arrested on charges related to operating a cryptocurrency investment fraud scheme. Russell allegedly defrauded investors by making false promises of high returns from their investments in cryptocurrencies, misappropriating funds for personal use, gambling, and repaying other investors. The indictment also states that Russell failed to repay investors' principal investments or provide the promised returns, and falsely claimed to have wired money to investors who requested repayment. DOJ Press Release 

Russell was scheduled to appear in Brooklyn federal court on April 11 for arraignment on an indictment charging him with perpetrating a cryptocurrency investment fraud scheme. Crypto Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog 

“As alleged, Russell turned the demand for cryptocurrency investments into a scheme to defraud numerous investors in order to fund his lifestyle,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “This Office will continue to aggressively pursue fraudsters perpetrating these schemes against investors in the digital asset markets.”   

As alleged in court documents, Russell engaged in a scheme to defraud multiple investors by falsely promising that their money would be used for cryptocurrency investments that would generate large—and sometimes “guaranteed”—returns.  In truth, much of the investors’ money was misappropriated by Russell and used for his personal benefit, to gamble, and to repay other investors.  Russell formerly worked as an investment banker and was a registered broker with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

As part of the scheme, Russell lied to investors about the status of their investments and fabricated multiple documents that he sent to investors.  As alleged, Russell sent one investor an altered image of a bank balance displayed on a bank website that purported to show Russell’s substantial liquidity.  When another investor sought to recoup their investment, Russell never sent the money and instead sent the investor a fabricated bank wire transfer confirmation that purported to show the return of the investor’s money.  DOJ Press Release 

In a parallel civil enforcement action, the CFTC charged Russell fraud and misappropriation in a digital asset trading scheme. The CFTC alleges Russell fraudulently solicited retail investors for a digital asset trading fund and misappropriated at least $1 million in investor assets. CFTC Press Release 

This blog post was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT-4 AI. Nothing in this post should be considered legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This blog is strictly for informational purposes only.

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