A lawyer and two senior promoters of AirBit Club have been sentenced to prison in connection with their role in the $100 million crypto scam, a week after the co-founder was handed 12 years behind bars.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Southern District of New York had sentenced lawyer Scott Hughes and promoters Cecilia Millan and Karina Chairez.
Operators and attorney of global multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme “AirBit Club” sentenced to prisonhttps://t.co/gktyyeAuYD
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) October 3, 2023
AirBit Club lured investors with promises of guaranteed profits from cryptocurrency trading and mining, authorities said. Investors would invest in cash or digital assets, after which they would become members of an online portal where they could track their ‘earnings.’ However, the DoJ says the portal was fabricated, and the founders didn’t trade or mine digital assets.
Hughes, a lawyer licensed to practice in California, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. According to the DoJ, Hughes laundered $18 million for the scam. The scammers would deposit the investors’ funds in a trust account that was initially intended for his law practice’s client funds. They used the funds in the trust account to fund their opulent lifestyles and promotional events targeting investors.
Milan, a senior promoter, was handed five years behind bars and three years of supervised release. Together with the other defendants, she traveled across the U.S., Latin America, and Asia, hosting lavish expos to recruit new investors. She received millions for her role, which she spent on cars, jewelry, and luxury homes.
Chairez, another senior promoter, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and three months of supervised release for a similar role.
The three must also forfeit all the proceeds from the scam.
Gutemberg Dos Santos is the only senior AirBit Club official who is yet to be sentenced. The 48-year-old Panama native pleaded guilty to charges including wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, which carry a maximum of 20 years in prison each. His sentencing is set for this week.
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