Ex-NFL team owner busted over crypto fraud scheme

Reginald Fowler fulfilled a dream held by many people in the United States. The Arizona businessman was able to take his money and purchase a piece of a pro NFL team, even if it was only a minority stake. For a while, he could brag about being a part-owner of the Minnesota Vikings, but he just lost his bragging rights. Now, he can tell everyone about the good old days he spent running an illegal cryptocurrency shadow bank that will land him in jail. 

Fowler, along with business partner Ravid Yosef, reportedly operated an unlicensed money-transmitting company that was tied to digital currency trading. The pair allegedly lied to U.S. banks in order to open accounts and subsequently funneled “hundreds of millions” of dollars through those accounts for crypto exchanges. It was reportedly a way for the exchanges to bypass money-laundering laws that they were required to follow. 

One of the most prominent clients of Fowler and his Global Trading Solutions LLC company was none other than Crypto Capital Corp., the Panamanian company that is now at the center of Bitfinex’s massive legal and financial nightmare. That company reportedly took off with Bitfinex’s money, and several key individuals with the company have already been arrested in various countries across the globe.

At one point, Fowler wanted to be the main honcho behind the Vikings and tried to buy the team for $600 million in 2005 as part of a group of investors. However, he allegedly wasn’t able to cover his part of the financial investment and settled for a minority ownership through companies he owned at the time. When those entities fell into receivership after racking up around $59 million in unpaid debts, his time behind the team came to an end and he was out of the picture by 2014. 

The would-be business leader and football fan tried again to back his favorite sport last year. He had allegedly been interested in being a major investor of the Alliance of American Football, a startup and alternative to the NFL, but the league had to file for bankruptcy this year after it couldn’t make payroll. That came, according to Sports Illustrated, after Fowler never made good on his promise to invest. 

Fowler made his first appearance in court this past May, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Yosef hasn’t appeared because the Israeli citizen is still on the run and her whereabouts are unknown. It now seems that the derelict businessman may have had a change of heart regarding his plea, because he is going to return to court on January 10 for what is being considered a possible indication that he is going to plead guilty to some, or all, of the charges against him. 

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.