Crypto Fraudster's Guilty Plea
A former executive from Deutsche Bank, previously accused in 2023 of orchestrating a fraudulent cryptocurrency trading scheme, has now admitted to committing investment fraud. This admission could result in a sentence of as much as three decades behind bars.
In an announcement made by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 19, it was revealed that Rashawn Russell, 27 years old, had pleaded guilty to being involved in an elaborate scheme. He ran a deceptive crypto investment fund called the "R3 Crypto Fund."
Over the period stretching from November 2020 to August 2022, Russell deceived 29 investors, siphoning $1.5 million by leveraging his credentials as a seasoned investment banker and licensed financial broker. He made promises of generating assured, substantial returns on a series of crypto investments.
CRYPTO CRIMES CONTINUED: Former Deutsche Bank investment banker Rashawn Russell, who had denied defrauding investors in a #cryptocurrency fraud, today pled guilty in # EDNY. He was indicted in April & accused of duping investors by promising “guaranteed returns.” pic.twitter.com/Da0gYrbqqV— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 19, 2023
The DOJ disclosed instances where Russell misled investors about the actual status of their investments, even going so far as to forge several documents displaying false information regarding their returns.
Investigations uncovered that Russell doctored images of his bank balance, presenting them to investors as altered proof. On another occasion, when an investor aimed to cash out from a crypto investment, Russell never transferred the money and instead sent a bogus confirmation of a money transfer.
The prosecution found that a significant portion of the $1.5 million, ostensibly invested in crypto assets, never found its way into the market. Instead, Russell misused these funds for personal gains, gambling, and repaying prior investors involved in the scheme.
In addition to his fraudulent investment activities, Russell confessed to participating in an identity theft scheme, where he illegitimately obtained credit cards and other devices using false identities.
The DOJ reported that Russell acquired these identity-related documents with the intent of conducting illegal and unauthorized transactions.
When sentenced, Russell could face a maximum of 30 years in prison for his offenses. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara decreed that he must also make restitution of over $1.5 million.