A cryptocurrency trader who defrauded more than 170 people was sentenced to 42 months in prison on May 11 for running a series of cryptocurrency funds that claimed to be making big returns but were actually losing money, instead operating as a Ponzi scheme.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Jeremy Spence, 25, solicited millions of dollars through false representations, “including Spence’s very lucrative cryptocurrency transactions, when in fact Spence’s transactions have been unprofitable.”
Spence, who runs social media channels for a crypto investment initiative called “Coin Signals,” received Decide Written by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Spencer was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to repay the victims more than $2.8 million.
Spencer pleads guilty In November 2021, he was charged with a commodity fraud that raised over $5 million from unwitting cryptocurrency investors by creating various cryptocurrency funds between November 2017 and April 2019, which he falsely claimed were receiving return, but actually lose money.
In an example provided by the DOJ, Spencer posted a message to an online chat group claiming that one of the funds made a 148% return that month.
according to Law 360 U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over the case, said:
“What strikes me is the stupidity of the people who lied to you about investing, these hoaxes have real life consequences and are serious.”
Profit-seeking investors would transfer cryptocurrencies to Spence to invest, but since his trades were not profitable, he created fake account balances to hide losses. Spence began operating a Ponzi scheme using funds from new investors to pay early investors, distributing an estimated $2 million worth of cryptocurrency in this way.
In a statement to the court, Spencer told Judge Kaplan that he was “ashamed” of his actions, apologized to his investors and claimed he was not eligible to trade the amount he received, adding that he “Into a [he] Totally unprepared.”
Cointelegraph asked Spence’s legal representative for comment, but did not hear back within the allotted time.