A Michigan man is facing 20 federal charges stemming from an alleged scam related to SegWitCoin (BTC) according to federal authorities. James Matthew Thomas pled not guilty to all 20 counts on August 14, and a jury trial has been set for October 21 at the Russell Smith federal courthouse in Missoula.
Thomas is charged with 16 counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. Federal prosecutors allege that the Michigan man defrauded investors by soliciting cryptocurrencies for investment purposes but, instead, used the money for his own personal expenses. The money actually went into the private checking account of Thomas and amounted to nearly $206,000, according to federal prosecutors.
In a filing with the court, prosecutors tell the story of how Thomas informed clients that he would be using the money for a series of investments that could lead to a significant increase in the assets for clients. However, it was later discovered that Thomas was using the money for his own personal gain, including purchasing a 2010 Ford Edge and a 2015 Lincoln MKX. He also transferred $27,000 into the account of a woman in New Jersey that was used for “advance payments for rent and security deposits,” according to prosecutors.
The interesting thing about the case is that while Thomas had money to buy cars, he is unable to provide the funds to hire a private attorney. The Michigan man will be represented by the public defender’s office instead.
This story is another cautionary tale for those interested in investing in cryptocurrency assets. Law enforcement and government officials across the globe have been warning investors to be cautious of any investment opportunity, informing them to thoroughly vet any investment firm they choose to do business with.
In the last month alone, numerous agencies and governments have been warning potential investors of the risks. On July 24, Malta warned investors related to the Emirate Coin Tech firm, expressing deep concerns that this was a type of Ponzi scheme. Cryptocurrency scams across Africa have become a cottage industry, and it is believed that investors have lost billions of dollars to scams on the African continent.
These are but a couple of the dozens of these types of scams that have been reported in the last few months alone, and that is what has been reported. Investors must take the time to ensure that they are not being scammed, otherwise, they may quickly find that their assets have vanished.
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