BTC escrow CEO expected to plead guilty in $7M fraud

Jon Barry Thompson is expected to offer a guilty plea in September, in connection with charges relating to a $7 million fraud.

The news is the latest development in the case, which has been running since Thompson was indicted in September 2019. It follows on from the suggestion by defense counsel in April that both parties had made “substantial progress” towards disposition.

In a letter to the court, the prosecution requested a control date in September for the disposition.

“The parties expect to reach a disposition of this matter and respectfully request that the court set a control date in September 2020 for the entry of that disposition.”

Prosecutors allege Thompson was involved in defrauding two customers through his firm Volantis Market Maker. In the first instance, the company received $3 million on behalf of a client, which was then sent to a third party before receiving BTC. As a result, the funds were apparently lost in transaction.

A second firm was then persuaded to send $4 million to the company, before the same thing happened again—funds were sent to a third party before the receipt of BTC, which Thompson claims resulted in the loss of the funds.

Following investigations by law enforcement, Thompson was indicted on two charges of commodity fraud, carrying 10-year prison sentences each, followed by two counts of wire fraud, carrying sentences of 20 years each. As a result, Thompson faces up to 60 years in prison on conviction.

Volantis is also expected to face civil charges, brought by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), in addition to a concurrent action against Thompson by Symphony FS, an Irish firm thought to have been one of the victims of the alleged fraud.

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