Federal prosecutors alleged On Friday, a Nevada man helped defraud 10,000 investors out of more than $45 million by touting a fake metaverse project with his own crypto token that would one day sell for trillions of dollars.
57-year-old Las Vegas resident Bryan Lee has been named in a replacement charge for his involvement in an alleged investment fraud scheme called CoinDeal. Lee was charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and criminal money transactions. The indictments in the wider case date back to June last year.
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Lee worked alongside three other people to convince investors that CoinDeal was a legitimate family of companies working to develop virtual reality products, federal prosecutors claimed. Lee and his co-conspirators also said they were in talks with a “potential consortium of wealthy buyers,” according to the indictment.
CoinDeal promoters told investors the funds were needed to pay for operating expenses until the sale was completed, with Lee and his co-conspirators promising hefty returns. In reality, the alleged fraudsters spent lavishly on luxury cars and real estate, prosecutors said.
The replacement indictment says the conspirators falsely announced the names of two billionaires as part of the potential buying group. Billionaire-1 is described as the founder and executive chairman of an “online retail company” and Billionaire-2 as the founder and CEO of an “electric car company”.
Although no names were appended to the indictment, both of these descriptions fit the characteristics of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and You’re here CEO Elon Musk, although not actually a founder, two of the richest people in the world.
Lee worked under Neil Chandran, who “presented himself as the owner” of the conglomerate, and alongside Michael Glaspie, a Florida man who helped raise funds from investors, prosecutors said.
Lee was not named in a January U.S. securities commission complaintbut Chandran and Glaspie were charged alongside five others for their roles in the CoinDeal investment program with the unregistered offering and sale of securities.
Prosecutors have also charged another unnamed co-conspirator, Individual-1, with allegedly collecting and laundering money for Chandran. The SEC has charged a Nevada man, Garry Davidson, who matches the description of Individual-1.
Chandran was arrested and accused in June 2022, while Glaspie pleaded guilty to wire fraud in February.
Chandran is described as a “recidivist violator of securities law and a convicted felon” in the SEC complaint. He and his backers “primarily targeted unsophisticated investors,” claiming his technology would be sold for “billions of dollars” to the fake billionaire-backed consortium, according to the SEC.
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