Crypto

Figures behind AirBit cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme have their day in court

Figures behind AirBit cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme have their day in court

All but one of the leaders of the scam have received sentences

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has been moving forward with the sentencing of key players involved in the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme AirBit Club. AirBit Club co-founder Dos Santos is the only remaining AirBit defendant left to be sentenced and will learn his fate on October 4.

The US attorney’s office in New York announced the sentencing of three of the five defendants in the AirBit case on October 3, including Karina Chairez, Cecilia Millan and Scott Hughes. The defendants all pleaded guilty in early 2023 to money laundering and several other charges in the AirBit case.

Hughes was accused of laundering about $18 million in AirBit Club fraud proceeds and received an 18-month prison sentence. Millan, a senior-level promoter of AirBit Club, received five years, and Chairez, another senior-level AirBit Club promoter, received one year and one day behind bars.

Hughes was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, while Millan and Chairez were both sentenced to three years and three months of supervised release.

AirBit Club was advertised as a “multi-level marketing club” in the crypto industry before undertaking the scheme in late 2015. The defendants provided presentations to mislead investors into thinking that AirBit Club received guaranteed daily returns from crypto trading and mining. Instead, AirBit Club founders and promoters put $100 million of investor funds in their pockets rather than fund AirBit’s promoted crypto operations.

AirBit Club maintained the fraudulent activity until 2020, although users began complaining about hidden fees and withdrawal delays in early 2016.

Santos will be the last of six defendants to be sentenced after pleading guilty to charges including money laundering and bank fraud after his co-founder, Pablo Rodriguez, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in September.

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