Sohrab Sharma, the third co-founder of Centra Tech, has pled guilty to an initial coin offering fraud, according to CoinDesk.
Sharma’s confession confirms that he, along with fellow co-founders Raymond Trapani and Robert Farkas, lied about their purported cryptocurrency partnerships and credentials. Sharma, in pleading guilty, gave up 10,000 in ethereum, or $2,329,200.
He pleaded guilty to guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, following Farkas’ guilty plea from June and Trapani’s from last year.
The company was able to rip off investors for around $25 million around the height of the 2017 IPO bubble. But the quick success, investor promises and lavish celebrity endorsements from the likes of Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled caught the attention of investigators, who set about looking into what was going on.
Mayweather and Khaled both ended up settling charges admitting that they’d been paid to endorse Centra Tech.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) could be looking at hiring a new expert to help advise on matters of the dark web, hacking and cryptocurrency in its attempts to hone in on cybercrime, CoinDesk wrote.
The position will be for 12 months and will work on the DOJ’s capabilities for crypto tracing and blockchain, according to a job listing from the department’s overseas development office.
The position will work particularly on the areas of Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which the DOJ has identified as havens of “sophisticated transnational organized crime threats” in the underworld for cybercrime and intellectual property.
Those applying must either already have or be ready to apply for a Top Secret security clearance as they work alongside DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and the U.S. Transnational and High-Tech Crime Global Law Enforcement Network, the posting says.
The U.S. has been working on fighting cybercrime more rigorously, including a new Secret Service program intended to arrest and convict the worst offenders, particularly as the pandemic has supercharged financial crimes.
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