CFTC default on $147M digital currency Ponzi scheme

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed for default against Benjamin Reynolds, the operator of a digital currency Ponzi scheme. The regulator revealed that despite its best efforts, it has been unable to locate Reynolds. CFTC also filed for voluntary dismissal against the elusive fraudster.

Reynolds is the founder and operator of Control-Finance, a digital currency Ponzi scheme that defrauded over 1,000 investors. He is alleged to have made away with 22,858 BTC, which at the time of his disappearance was worth $147 million. The CFTC has pursued him fervently since then, seeking to bring him to justice for his crime, but its efforts have been in vain.

In documents it filed with the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York, the watchdog has revealed that it intends to move for a default judgment against Reynolds. The CFTC filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of its action—without prejudice—against Reynolds and his company.

The watchdog detailed some of the lengths it has gone to in its bid to locate the alleged digital currency fraudster. Reynolds’ last known address was in Manchester in the United Kingdom. The regulator was, however, unable to locate him in his registered address. It then sought, and was granted, leave to serve him by publication in the U.K. It published a notice about the case on The Telegraph, a national newspaper, once a week for four consecutive weeks. Reynolds had to respond to the notice within 21 days from the date of the last publication, but he still remains at large.

The CFTC stated in its filing, “To date, Reynolds has not filed an answer or otherwise responded to the complaint, and, as stated above, the Commission intends to move for a default judgment against him. Given these circumstances, a scheduling conference and discovery plan are not needed to resolve this case.”

Reynolds operated a pyramid scheme, where old investors were paid by money from new investors. As CoinGeek reported, he started his company, Control-Finance in May 2017, exploiting the digital currency hype that skyrocketed that year. Through a skewed affiliate program, he lured over 1,000 investors through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms.

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