On September 8, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a severe penalty against Jacob Orvidas for running a fraudulent Bitcoin trading pool.
An order charged Orvidas with falsely promising huge profits to solicit over $2 million from at least four investors.
Bitcoin Pool Operator Said Crypto Trading Was “Like Printing Money”
According to the CFTC, Orvidas misrepresented his trading abilities and claimed the funds would be protected. However, he lost nearly all the money trading Bitcoin (BTC).
The CFTC claims Orvidas covered up losses with fake account statements before lying about why he couldn’t pay out earnings or return investments.
Hence, the order requires Orvidas to pay back over $2 million in restitution along with a record $500,000 civil penalty for violating commodity trading laws. He is also banned from registering or trading commodities for ten years and must cease all fraudulent activities.
“Protecting ordinary people has always been at the heart of the CFTC’s digital-asset enforcement program,” said Director of Enforcement Ian McGinley in a statement.
“While digital-asset cases are often complex, this Bitcoin case is a straight-up fraud: simple and old as time. We will continue to deploy every weapon in our arsenal to fight fraud in all our markets.”
According to the findings, from about October 2017 to July 2020, Orvidas falsely claimed trading expertise to solicit participants for his Bitcoin pool, promising huge profits and security for their money.
For example, he told one participant another client turned $100,000 in bitcoin into $2.7 million. He claimed, “Crypto trading is a joke…it’s like printing money.”
In reality, Orvidas lost almost all the pool’s funds through trading. A reminder that the crypto markets can be a fickle beast.
CFTC Just Handed out a Record Civil Penalty
The commodities regular has been busy on the crypto front, too. Earlier this week, the CFTC announced a consent order against Mirror Trading International (MTI), which conducted a fraudulent commodity pool.
That action resolved a case that has been called South Africa’s largest-ever pyramid scheme. MTI and its CEO, Cornelius Johannes Steynberg, were found guilty of multiple frauds and ordered to pay a record $1.7 billion in restitution.
The scam involved over 23,000 victims and collected more than 29,421 BTC.
The civil monetary penalty against Steynberg stands as the largest ever handed out by the CFTC.
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