Three Miami residents have been arrested by US authorities for allegedly defrauding banks to buy millions of dollars in crypto.
The US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has charged the three men, Esteban Cabrera Da Corte, Luis Hernandez Gonzalez and Asdrubal Ramirez Meza, with multiple misdemeanors including wire fraud and aggravated impersonation.
The arrests were in part the result of the Department of Homeland Security’s decades-long anti-money laundering program, the El Dorado task force.
Trio stole identities to open accounts
The unsealed indictment revealed that the trio opened fake accounts at a major anonymous cryptocurrency exchange using photos of fake US passports and driver’s licenses, which were then linked to their personal bank accounts.
After purchasing cryptocurrency using the fake accounts, the accused would then transfer it to external cryptocurrency wallets. Once the crypto was secured, they would call the banks to say the purchases had not been authorized, prompting the banks to refund them.
Using the insurance money, obtained through wire transfers, cashier’s checks and ATM withdrawals, the defendant made other crypto purchases. These ultimately amounted to over $4 million in fraudulent cancellations.
During the scheme, which took place in early 2020, the cryptocurrency exchange lost over $3.5 million. According to prosecutors, they had defrauded the cryptocurrency exchange of both the cryptocurrency purchased and the funds used to purchase it.
Crypto Fraudsters Scammed 2,000 Investors
Earlier this month, two crypto scammers were arrested for running a digital asset investment scam in which over 2,000 investors lost $1.9 million. Both Jeremy David McAlpine and Zachary Michael Matar of Orange County, California have been convicted for their roles in the Dropil investment scam.
In 2017, the duo set up a company in Belize under the guise of managing digital asset investment products and created DROPs, a cryptocurrency for the project. An investor spreadsheet submitted to the SEC later claimed that Dropsil had raised $54 million from 34,000 investors inside and outside the United States.
However, further investigation revealed that the team had made just $2 million from less than 3,000 investors, which was then used to “fund disbursements for themselves and their associates.”
According to the Department of Justice, their actions caused “financial harm to a very large number of victims”.
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