IGOBIT crypto scheme leads to wire fraud charges for NY man
A New York man is facing wire fraud charges for defrauding investors in a cryptocurrency-related scam. According to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice, the accused misled investors to think they were investing in a global intergovernmental organization. However, instead of using the investors’ money for the stated purpose, he used it to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Asa Saint Clair founded World Sports Alliance (WSA) in 2017, a company he allegedly advertised as an intergovernmental organization which used sports to promote international development. He then sought investors to back IGOBIT, a cryptocurrency which he promised would be used in the issuance of development loans. To make it seem legitimate, he touted WSA as an affiliate of the United Nations. For two years, he defrauded multiple investors who put in thousands of dollars.
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York stated, “As alleged, Asa Saint Clair used World Sports Alliance, a sham affiliate of the United Nations, as a vehicle to defraud lenders. Saint Clair allegedly defrauded investors in IGOBIT, a digital currency he claimed WSA was developing, but which turned out to be the fraudulent bait with which to lure victim investors.
And while the digital currency may have been a scam, Berman indicated that “what’s real is the felony charge Saint Clair now faces.”
According to the DoJ, WSA did not participate in any international development projects and Saint Clair didn’t dedicate any of the investors’ funds into the project. Instead, he diverted the money to entities owned by him and other members of his family. He also used some of the money to fund a lavish lifestyle including airline tickets, dinners at Manhattan hotels and online shopping.
The 47-year-old faces one count of wire fraud which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh said, “Saint Claire allegedly touted his company as promoting the values of sports and peace for a better world, yet defrauded all those who invested in his sham company. As alleged, Saint Claire used the money he earned through deceit to fund a lavish lifestyle for him and his family.”
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