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Federal authorities in the state of New York have unsealed fraud charges against Jon Barry Thompson, the principal of a purported cryptocurrency escrow company Volantis Escrow Platform, in the amount of over $7 million as stated in a press release released on July 25th by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The complaint holds Thompson with commodities fraud and wire fraud charges as he is accused of taking over $3 million from one company and $4 million from another after making false statements about the risk involved in Bitcoin transactions through his company.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:
“Whether a transaction involves cryptocurrency, or any other type of currency, commodity or security, this Office is committed to rooting out fraud and protecting the integrity of our markets.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney was also quoted in the report saying that Thompson was under the assumption that no one would ever inquire about where their money actually went when he said he’d invest it in Bitcoin(BTC)trade. Assistant Director alleged that Thompson used technical jargon to confuse his victims and “preyed on their ignorance of the emerging cryptocurrency”.
In June and July of last year, Thompson manipulated his first victim company to send him over $3 million for the purchase of Bitcoin after falsely assuring them that he had the Bitcoin and that their money will be safe with him. After taking that money he failed to provide the promised Bitcoin funds for the said amount and told them lies about why the deal hadn’t worked out and provided them with false account statements as well. Moreover, he sent the $3 million to a third-party without having received the amount in Bitcoin.
He then targeted another company and made it do the same, while time this victim company sent Thompson’s company over $4 million for the purchase of Bitcoin. Thompson once again sent a considerable amount of that money to a third party and this victim company never got any Bitcoin or money in return as well.
The investigation is being done by the FBI in assistance of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the case is being handled by Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.
It seems like the regulatory authorities are intent on making an example out of Volantis if Thompson’s guilt is proven. With clear legislation being defined, the authorities want to ensure that a message is sent to anyone looking to rob investors of they hard earned money through cryptocurrencies and hurt the entire crypto market in the process; the message is that fraudsters will be dealt with an iron fist.