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Prosecutors Move to Close Out Case Against Crypto Escrow Schemer

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Prosecutors have spent a great deal of time and resources on the case of Jon Barry Thompson, an alleged crypto fraudster. However, it appears that his case could be sealed soon. Recently, the prosecution on his case submitted a letter to the court explaining that Thompson was expected to enter a guilty plea soon. If the case goes as planned, a sentence could be ready before the year closes.

A $7 Million Scam Operation

Thompson’s indictment was a rather interesting one. On July 25, 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) brought up a case against the Pennsylvania businessman for defrauding his investors of $7 million by creating a bogus escrow service.

The FBI accused Thompson, who owned a collection of crypto-based businesses known as Volantis Market Maker LLC, of promising low-risk investments with investor’s funds. Despite adding that his company would act as a custodian for both parties of transactions, the indictment added that he never wanted to use the escrow service.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said that Thompson didn’t believe anyone would ask him where the money went. Besides the trust they had in him, he had taken to using sophisticated terms with the victims to prey on their ignorance. The indictment also showed that Thompson had defrauded two companies in 2018. One of those was Symphony, an investment firm based out of the Republic of Ireland. Symphony offered Thompson $4 million, while the second victim also offered him close to that amount. 

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought up similar charges against him in September. In its indictment, the agency explained that Thompson had made false representations to consumers concerning the Bitcoin purchases he made. In addition to the FBI charge, the CFTC also hit Thompson with two counts each of wire and commodities fraud.

An End is Near

While Thompson had challenged the indictments initially, it appears that things are set to move forward. In April, his attorney, Peggy Cross-Goldenberg, indicated that both parties had made progress towards a disposition. The prosecution confirmed the stance in the new letter, saying:

“The parties expect to reach a disposition of this matter and respectfully request that the court set a control date in September 2020 for the entry of that disposition.”

Thompson’s case even got attention from the U.S. government. The government had written to the New York Southern District Court and asked for the CFTC to give way to the FBI charge before coming in with its allegations.

Regardless of what happens, Thompson appears to be gearing up for a long stint behind bars. Per Pennsylvania state’s commodities and wire fraud laws, he could spend a maximum of 60 years in jail for his crimes. The commodities fraud charges carry ten-year prison sentences each, while those for wire fraud carry twice that.

Thompson is the latest in the line of crypto fraudsters to get their comeuppance in 2020. As law enforcement agencies continue the fight against crimes, there’s no doubt the industry will see more of these criminals behind bars.

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