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A New Albany, Ohio man was arrested on Friday for wire fraud. Rathnakishore Giri is accused of running a Ponzi cryptocurrency scheme worth at least $10 million, the Justice Department announcement.

Mr. Giri presented himself to investors as an expert in Bitcoin derivatives trading, an allegation that authorities were both fraudulent and deceptive. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which filed a civil suit against Mr. Giri in August, his alleged scheme lasted from March 2019 until at least August 2022.

Mr Giri is accused of promising investors big risk-free returns, with an alleged guarantee that they would get their principal investment back. Instead, authorities say, Mr Giri paid former investors with money earned by new investors, a “trademark of a Ponzi scheme”, according to the Justice Department.

Mr. Giri and his companies “fraudulently solicited more than $12 million and at least 10 bitcoins from more than 150 customers and … misappropriated customer funds intended for digital asset trading,” the CFTC alleged in its report. . announcement of the August civil action.

The money that Mr. Giri is accused of defrauding went to “[Mr.] Giri’s lavish lifestyle, which included yacht charter, luxury vacations and luxury shopping,” according to the CFTC.

Investors tried to cash out or recover their major investments; Mr. Giri is accused of guiding them and explaining the reasons for a delay in their payment.

Mr Giri has now been charged with five counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces “a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count,” according to the Justice Department.

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