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NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — An 18-year-old Bitcoin trader from New York says he was tied up and held at gunpoint by his roommate, who attempted to force him to sell his assets to pay for previous damages to their apartment.
Quentin Capobianco told investigators that his roommate Jesse Smith, a struggling lawyer at the time, tied him up and put a shotgun to his head over a financial dispute. The two had been working together on LocalBitcoins and BTCJam on income ventures. According to reports by DNAinfo, Smith held Capobianco captive with duct tape and zip ties, ordering him to sell stocks and bitcoin to pay for damages Capobianco had caused to their upscale apartment.
After allegedly eight hours of forced captivity, Capobianco broke free. He did not tell police whether or not he actually had sold his stocks and bitcoins in response to Smith’s demands, but did say that he found his way to the kitchen, grabbing a hammer to use as a weapon.
“I grabbed the hammer from the kitchen and hit Jessie three or four times until he was unconscious,” Capobianco told the police.
Following the attack, Smith was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Capobianco was then taken into custody, charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, and held on a $250,000 bond.
Smith had just left his job.
“He was starting a new business,” Tony Wang, a clerk in City Sliquors, a liquor store that Smith frequented told the New York Post. “He said he was not going to work for someone else anymore, he was only going to work for himself.”
Whether or not the new business venture was tied to his co-trading with Capobianco on LocalBitcoins and their lending project on BTCJam is unconfirmed but considered likely.
“We are here for you with speedy and reliable service (just ask our repeat customers),” the two posted on their LocalBitcoins page. “You get your bitcoins on the spot, we wait four days for them. We have a LOT of Bitcoins and an even BIGGER demand.”
But the business apparently hadn’t been going as well as Smith had hoped, according to Wang.
“He’d buy champagne. He always dressed nice, but not the last few times. He said his business wasn’t good. He looked rough, like he had a lot going on,” Wang told DNAinfo.
Reports from the New York Daily News quoted a police source saying that Capobianco and Smith may have also been arguing over drugs, specifically heroin. Capobianco’s father denied any link in the case to drugs and a woman who identified herself as Smith’s ex-girlfriend also claimed there were no drug problems.
“They had a disagreement over money that Quentin owed Jesse,” the woman told the Daily News. “Quentin beat Jesse to death with a hammer with no less than five, six blows to the head, according to the surgeon who tried to save Jesse’s life.”
Capobianco’s lawyer, Ronald Bekoff, was unavailable for comment when contacted by Inside Bitcoins.
Photo credit: Werner Vermaak