In a continuing crackdown on cryptocurrency scams, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Bryan Lee, a 57-year-old Las Vegas resident, for his alleged involvement in the infamous CoinDeal scam. Lee was accused of conspiring with the mastermind behind the scam, Neil Chandran, to defraud more than 10,000 investors.
The DOJ statement disclosed that Lee collaborated with Chandran and others associated with Chandran entities, such as Free Vi Lab, ViDelivery Inc., and ViMarket Inc. These companies lure investors with the promise of exorbitant returns, supposedly generated by consortia of wealthy buyers.
According to the DOJ, Lee acted as potential owner and director of ViMarket, receiving instructions from Chandran on how to handle and distribute funds received from investors. Both Lee and Chandran were accused of misappropriating millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors, using ill-gotten gains to finance lavish lifestyles, including luxury cars and real estate.
The charges against Lee include one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and three counts of engaging in a monetary transaction involving criminally handed down property. If convicted, Lee could face up to 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud, as well as an additional 10 years for each count of engaging in criminal monetary transactions.
The SEC previously charged Chandran and seven other people in January this year for their role in the CoinDeal scheme. Chandran, who was thought to be the mastermind behind the operation, was arrested in June 2022. Another person involved in the scam, Michael Glaspie, who was responsible for marketing CoinDeal, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and is awaiting sentencing in mid-June.
The pursuit of justice in cases like these demonstrates the commitment of regulatory agencies to protect investors and maintain the integrity of the cryptocurrency market. The DOJ’s actions serve as a powerful deterrent to those seeking to exploit unsuspecting individuals for personal gain. As the battle against cryptocurrency scheme scams continues, authorities aim to restore trust and foster a safe environment for investors in an evolving digital landscape.