The Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the indictment of famous Instagrammer, Jegara Igbara, popularly known as “Jay Manzini”, in a Wednesday release.
Manzini Gets $2.5 Million Worth Of BTC
According to the agency, the 25-year old allegedly duped his followers of millions in Bitcoin. The DoJ is charging him with wire fraud after the accused deceived victims into parting with their digital assets.
The DoJ said that Jay Manzini carved up a reputable status by posting videos of him giving out cash to random people on the road and promoting his business ventures. This behavior made him popular, as people flocked to his pages on account of his supposed benevolence.
Manzini began soliciting Bitcoin from his one million followers, saying the regular crypto exchanges were unwilling to satisfy his BTC demand.
He promised to pay 3.5 to 5% more than the present BTC market value to induce his victims. The illicit activity began in or around January 2021, and until his subsequent arrest in March, he was able to make over $2.5 million from his criminal activities.
When his victims eventually transferred the BTC asset, they did not get the promised ROI. According to the DoJ investigation, Manzini was able to convince his victims by posting fake receipts of bank wire transfer.
Federal investigators also conducted a check into his bank account and discovered that Manzini never had the cash equivalent for the Bitcoin he fraudulently obtained from his victims.
Manzini, who is scheduled to appear in the Eastern District of New York, is just one of a growing number of criminals seizing on the crypto wave to defraud ignorant crypto owners.
Crypto Growth Attracting Criminals
A recent report from fraud prevention company Bolster discovered that over 400,000 crypto scams were in operation in 2020. The information which showed a 40% increase from 2019 predicted a 75% increase in 2021.
Bolster said cryptocurrencies surge played a pivotal role as criminals were attracted to the growth of digital assets like Bitcoin. Bitcoin, which made a significant ATH of $61,000 about a week ago, has become synonymous with crypto.
Per the report, these criminal masterminds even go as far as impersonating celebrities to defraud their victims.
These growing concerns have led many government agencies like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to clamp down most crypto companies.
In an April 2019 Investment Alert document, the SEC cautioned crypto investors about investment scams promised ROI of 20 to 50% with little or no risk.
The alert, which is part of the agency’s education initiative, said these fraudsters are known to promise their victims a significant stake in their project in exchange for their money. The fraudster would only get the hard-earned money of their victims and disappear into thin air.
The agency warned US investors to be careful and observe due diligence before parting with their money.