A former employee of defunct digital currency fund Bitsonar is now accusing the firm of engaging in deliberate fraud. In a report filed with the FBI, he claims that the firm raised funds from investors with no intention of returning it.
Yaroslav Shtadchenko was hired by Bitsonar in 2018 as a project manager, providing consulting services on marketing strategies, website development and enhancing brand recognition, he claimed in the notice of criminal offence filed with the FBI.
Bitsonar reportedly raised funds from hundreds of investors from the U.S., Ukraine, Estonia, the U.K., Netherlands and over a dozen more countries. It allegedly lured the investors with promises of huge returns, citing a trading bot that it reportedly used to guarantee returns, first reported by CoinDesk.
However, Shtadchenko claimed that in spring of 2020, while interacting with investors and operators of the fund, “I became aware that Bitsonar was actually a financial pyramid and all its activities were aimed at attracting investment with no intention of returning it.”
Shtadchenko alleged that Bitsonar lied to investors about its trading bot, claiming that the “automated trading” was done manually.
Upon discovery of the fraud, he reportedly confronted the founder, Alexander Tovstenko, leading to a publicized row in the firm.
Bitsonar first started having issues in February 2020, with investors unable to withdraw their funds shortly after. In August 2020, the fund’s website went offline, and allegedly took with it over $2.5 million worth of investors’ funds.
Shtadchenko accused Bitsonar and Tovstenko of breaking several laws of the U.S. criminal code, including bank fraud, securities and commodities fraud, fraud by radio or television and more. He urged the FBI to launch an investigation into the criminal offenses committed by Tovstenko and to institute criminal proceedings against him as well.
The Bitsonar saga has grabbed headlines in recent months ever since Shtadchenko openly accused the fund’s founder of fraud. In July, he gave an interview under a pseudonym in which he exposed the rot at the fund. A month later, he was reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint, just days after he threatened to file a report with the FBI. He was held for four days and after his release, he claimed that the kidnapping was done by Ukrainian authorities.
Bitsonar initially posed as a legitimate digital currency trading fund, claiming to have developed the “first quantum digital currency trading bot.” It advertised its products on some of the popular YouTube digital currency-related channels, including CryptoJoker, MMCrypto, and CryptoTV.
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