The man behind a multi-million dollar cryptocurrency scam pleaded guilty to fraud this week, according to the US Department of Justice.
Ohio man Michael Ackerman could face up to 20 years on the inside following a guilty plea for defrauding investors in a crypto scam he orchestrated in 2017. The too-good-to-be-true scheme attracted hundreds of investors who deposited. USD in a crypto fund called Q3 Trading Club promising 15% monthly returns.
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announced the guilty plea on September 8 and testified that Ackerman admitted to causing losses of more than $ 30 million to the victims.
“As he admitted today, Michael Ackerman raised millions of dollars in investments for his fake cryptocurrency scheme by falsely promoting monthly returns of more than 15 percent.”
Strauss added that he falsified documents to convince investors to believe his fund had a balance of more than $ 315 million. In reality, the fund never had a balance greater than $ 5 million according to the Justice Department.
It added that Ackerman stole $ 9 million in investor contributions to “fund a luxurious lifestyle” that included real estate, jewelry, vehicles, travel and personal security services.
The 52-year-old pleaded guilty to the wire fraud charges and agreed to make a bounty of at least $ 30 million while losing $ 36 million in cash, real estate and jewelry he fraudulently acquired. Ackerman is due to be sentenced on January 5, 2022.
He was initially indicted by the Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2020 for violating securities laws. At the time, it was reported that he was targeting doctors in particular through a “Group of Parents of Doctors” on Facebook.
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Ackerman, who was an institutional broker for the New York Stock Exchange, operated as part of a trio that included James Seijas, a former Wells Fargo financial advisor, and surgeon Quan Tran.
Victims of the scam sued Wells Fargo in April 2020 for failing to investigate an employee’s activities.