DOJ and leader of $35M crypto scam discuss pre-trial resolution

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Michael Ackerman, the leader of a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme that cost its victims $35 million, are discussing resolution of the criminal proceedings. This becomes clear from the latest document filings with the New York Southern District Court.

The parties in this case had sought an adjournment of the conference currently scheduled for 2 p.m. on July 7, 2021 to 9 a.m. on July 29, 2021. The parties noted they are discussing a pretrial resolution of this matter and will not be completed with those discussions before the conference date.

On June 28, 2021, Judge Laura Taylor Swain granted the application. The conference is adjourned to July 29, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

Let’s recall that, in February 2020, the DOJ announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Ackerman with wire fraud and money laundering. He allegedly defrauded over 100 individuals of more than $35 million through his fake cryptocurrency investment scheme.

In or about 2017, Ackerman and others started a purported cryptocurrency “investment” fund and recruited hundreds of individual investors into the Fund. Under the terms of the Fund, investors were told that they would receive 50% of their trading profits, and that the founders of the Fund, including Ackerman, would receive the other 50%.

Ackerman represented to investors and others that the Fund had a balance of over $315 million worth of cryptocurrencies available for trading in a Fund account. Those representations by him included screenshots of trading data doctored by Ackerman in order to make it appear that the Fund was operating at that successful level, when its actual trading balance was less than the equivalent of half a million dollars.

He, moreover, regularly stole proceeds of this fraud from the Fund, and attempted to conceal those proceeds not only through his false representations to investors, but through the purchase of at least five pieces of real estate, all of which were titled to third parties.

Ackerman is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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