The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announces the arrest of two Estonian citizens in connection with an alleged crypto money laundering scheme.
In a new press release, the DOJ indicates that the two individuals were arrested yesterday in Estonia.
“According to court documents, Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turõgin, both 37, defrauded hundreds of thousands of victims through a multi-faceted scheme. They tricked the victims into entering into fraudulent equipment rental contracts with the defendants’ cryptocurrency mining service called HashFlare.
They also tricked the victims into investing in a virtual currency bank called Polybius Bank. In reality, Polybe was never a bank and never paid the promised dividends. The victims paid more than $575 million to the Potapenko and Turõgin companies. Potapenko and Turõgin then used shell companies to launder the proceeds of the fraud and purchase real estate and luxury cars.
According to court documents, the two Estonian nationals claimed that HashFlare was a big crypto-mining operation. The defendant allegedly offered victims fraudulent contracts that “purported to allow clients to lease a percentage of HashFlare’s mining operations in exchange for the virtual currency produced by their share of the operation.”
Said Luis Quesada, deputy director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division,
“The FBI is committed to pursuing subjects across international borders who use increasingly complex schemes to defraud investors…
Victims in the United States and abroad invested in what they believed to be sophisticated virtual asset businesses, but it was all part of a fraudulent scheme and thousands of victims were harmed as a result.
The FBI thanks our domestic and international partners for their efforts throughout the investigation to help bring justice to the victims.
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