Instagram influencer charged over duping followers out of $2.5M BTC

Instagram influencer charged over duping followers out of $2.5M BTC

An Instagram influencer has been charged with wire fraud, after he allegedly scammed followers out of $2.5 million worth of Bitcoin.

Social media influencer Jay Mazini, who boasted of a net worth of $33 million and is known for “cash giveaways”, is accused by the Department of Justice of operating a wire fraud scheme in which he duped some of his 1 million followers to send him Bitcoin in exchange for inflated cash offers, which he failed to pay properly.

Our top trading bots

The DoJ announced the charges on March 24, following a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court the day before. The FBI investigation into the case is still ongoing, with FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney noting:

“Igbara’s social media persona served as a backdrop for enticing victims to sell him their Bitcoin at attractive, but inflated, values. A behind-the-scenes look, however, revealed things aren’t always as they seem. There was nothing philanthropic about the Bitcoin transactions Igbara engaged in with his victims.”

Sweeney added: “A quick search of the Interwebs today will reveal an entirely different image of this multimillion-dollar scammer.”

According to DoJ documents, the influencer offered to pay followers between 3.5% to 5% over market value for Bitcoin, claiming traditional crypto exchanges had capped how much Bitcoin he could purchase.

Instagram influencer charged over duping followers out of $2.5M BTC

The alleged wire fraud scam took place between January to late February, with the influencer soliciting followers on Twitter and Instagram. During that time, the price of Bitcoin shot up from around $29,000 to more than $49,000. According to the complaint, when Bitcoin was valued at around $47,000 on Feb. 14, the defendant offered to buy Bitcoin at $52,500.

It is alleged that after Mazini received Bitcoin from his fans, he sent back falsified payment receipts to reflect agreed-upon prices, in which he either failed to send the full amount or never sent the money.

According to the complaint filed on March 23, Mazini negotiated with one of his followers to purchase 50 BTC for $2.56 million, with the seller sending the agreed amount of BTC to only receive $500,000 in return.

Mazini is currently being held on state charges in New Jersey and will face New York courts at an undetermined date. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

In the DoJ release, IRS-CI Special Agent Jonathan D. Larsen, warned fans of social media influencers to “beware” of falling prey to social media crypto scams, noting the “defendant allegedly used his online popularity to defraud those seeking to exchange Bitcoin for cash above the market value. Always be on your guard and don’t fall prey to these cryptocurrency schemes.”

Keep reading on Cointelegraph
Paxful denies reports of customer data leak
An anonymous online source was recently spotted trying to sell private customer and employee data allegedly obtained from crypto exchange Paxful. A spokesperson...
Citi and IADB complete cross-border payment pilot with blockchain tech
Banking giant Citigroup has successfully completed a proof-of-concept for blockchain-based cross-border payments in collaboration with the Inter-American...
Decentraland announces layer-two MANA token transfers, plans for full migration
Just a day after two decentralized finance powerhouses announced layer-two integrations via the Polygon sidechain, a major nonfungible token and gaming...
Pantera Capital backs Liquity Protocol’s $6M Series A funding round
DeFi lending platform Liquity Protocol has secured $6 million in Series A funding to expand its on-chain borrowing services, underscoring the continued...
NFT craze and institutional money to bring next 100 million crypto users, says Crypto.com CEO
Watch Cointelegraph’s latest interview with Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek to understand the catalysts that will push crypto to 200 million users. For more...
Ethereum Foundation Confirms Upcoming ‘Istanbul’ Upgrade
On November 7th, Péter Szilágyi announced the date of the foundations impending upgrade, known as ‘Istanbul’. This upgrade will be the eighth hard fork...
Venezuela Makes Citizens Pay For New Passports With Petro
Venezuelans who need passports have got nothing to do but to get them for precarious national crypto-coin El Petro. As reportedly 5,000 people flee Venezuela...
Huawei To Support Bitcoin Wallet In Its Store
The most valuable cyber-coin in the world bitcoin is getting wider adoption as the Chinese tech giant Huawei has notified that its users will soon be able...
After Predicting BTC Surge to $250,000 Tim Draper Says It Will Beat The Internet
Some days ago billionaire Tim Draper claimed that the “king of all cryptos” would reach the rate of $250,000 in a couple of years, and he does not seem...
The Board Of Directors And The President Of Tezos Foundation Changed
Two members of the board of the Tezos Foundation, including its president, Johann Gevers, voluntarily resigned.They will be replaced by a member of the...
Bitcoin Surpasses $10,000 For The First Time in Two Weeks
Since the beginning of February bitcoin’s price started heading downwards, falling below the margin of $6,000 – the mark, which BTC had not seen since...
Hong Kong’s Financial Regulator Vowed to Keep an Eye on Cryptos and ICOs
Hong Kong is believed to be a freer place for crypto enthusiasts. BTCC exchange case alone is enough to prove it. At the end of January, one of the oldest...
Israeli Diamond Exchange Issues Its Cryptocurrency
The Israeli Diamond Exchange began issuing its cryptocurrency - for settlements between dealers and investors. This should breathe new life into the industry,...
Nobel Prize Winner Shiller Says Bitcoin is a ‘Clever Idea’
The American Nobel Laureate and Sterling Professor of Economics at Ivy League Yale University Robert Shiller considers bitcoin as an exciting experiment...
How EOS Will Stir Up The Blockchain In 2018
People who have kept an eye on the cryptocurrency ecosystem over the past few weeks will have noticed that the EOS project is of great interest all of...