The USA District Courtroom for the Southern District of New York is progressing with the sentencing process of key people behind the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme AirBit Membership.
The workplace of the U.S. lawyer for New York on Oct. 3 announced the sentencing of three of the 5 surviving defendants within the AirBit case, together with Scott Hughes, Cecilia Millan and Karina Chairez. The sentences got here months after all three defendants pleaded guilty to cash laundering and different costs within the AirBit case in early 2023.
Hughes, an lawyer who allegedly laundered roughly $18 million in AirBit Membership fraud proceeds, was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Millan, a senior-level promoter of AirBit Membership, was sentenced to 5 years in jail. Chairez, one other senior-level promoter of AirBit Membership, was sentenced to 1 yr and sooner or later in jail.
Moreover, Hughes was sentenced to a few years of supervised launch. Millan and Chairez had been additionally sentenced to a few years and three months of supervised launch, respectively.
The AirBit Club scheme was launched in late 2015 and was promoted as a “multi-level advertising membership” within the cryptocurrency trade. The defendants supplied promising displays to trick traders into considering that AirBit Membership had assured each day returns from crypto mining and buying and selling. However as an alternative of funding AirBit’s promoted crypto operations — which in truth had by no means been the case — $100 million of traders’ cash went to the pockets of its founders and promoters.
Regardless of some customers complaining about withdrawal delays and hidden charges in early 2016, the AirBit Membership scheme managed to keep up its fraudulent exercise till 2020.
Saying the sentences, U.S. lawyer Damian Williams pressured that Hughes, Millan and Chairez every performed a key position in perpetuating the AirBit Membership pyramid scheme.
“On the top-tier of promoters, Millan and Chairez for years aggressively solicited investments from and misled hardworking and unsophisticated traders to line their very own pockets,” Williams mentioned, including:
“At present’s sentences ship a message that anybody who facilitates cryptocurrency funding schemes — not solely these on the very prime of the pyramid — will face severe penalties for such crimes.
This comes after AirBit Club co-founder Pablo Rodriguez was sentenced to 12 years in jail in late September 2023. Dos Santos, one other co-founder who has pleaded responsible to costs together with wire fraud conspiracy, cash laundering and financial institution fraud conspiracy, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 4, 2023.
Santos would be the final defendant to be sentenced out of a complete six defendants behind AirBit Membership. Jackie Aguilar, who pled responsible in February 2023, reportedly handed away in Could, a couple of weeks previous to sentencing.