Two Estonian citizens have been arrested and charged in connection with what US prosecutors described as a $575 million cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering scheme.
Sergey Potapenko and Ivan Turigin are accused of defrauding hundreds of thousands of victims, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which released an indictment against them on Monday.
The defendants allegedly lured victims into signing contracts for renting illegal equipment at HashFlare, a cryptocurrency mining service for men. They are also accused of soliciting investments in a cryptocurrency bank called Polybius Bank. Prosecutors said Polybius Bank was not a bank and the promised dividends were not paid.
The arrests of both 37-year-old men are the latest sign that law enforcement agencies are increasingly paying attention to illegal cryptocurrency activities around the world.
The arrest in Tallinn, Estonia comes after FTX, a formerly marquee cryptocurrency platform managed by Sam Bankman-Fried, who was considered one of the crypto industry’s bannermen at the height of his influence. It was also in the midst of being driven into bankruptcy.
“New technology makes it easier for bad actors to take advantage of innocent victims in increasingly complex scams, both in the U.S. and abroad,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite. said.
Earlier this month, the United States won the conviction of James Zong, who once held $3 billion worth of bitcoin stolen from the Silk Road, a notorious darknet marketplace that accepts cryptocurrencies in exchange for illicit goods. I was.
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