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Daily fraud update: 21st January

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Ex-NFL owner in court over crypto fraud allegations

A man who used to be a minority owner in an American National Football League team has changed his plea to guilty in a case relating to crypto fraud.

Reginald Fowler, who formerly was a part owner of the Minnesota Vikings team, was arrested back in April of 2019.

At first, he pleaded not guilty – but an unexpected court appearance recently signified his decision to change his plea to guilty.

He stands accused of a range of crimes.

He is accused of running a money transfer operation which did not have a license, and of conspiracy to do the same.

He is also accused of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

However, he will now not face charges over the latter three allegations due to his decision to switch his plea.

The charges pertain to his association with a crypto firm called Crypto Capital, which was used by a wide range of crypto exchanges around the world.

Some of the well-known names on this list include Binance, Bitfinex and Kraken.

However, Crypto Capital allegedly had a sinister purpose: to help the exchange which used it to evade controls that had been placed on them as part of an effort to reduce the chances of money laundering taking place.

It was also allegedly used to avoid so-called “know your customer” rules, which places a responsibility on financial institutions to increase their knowledge of who they are dealing with.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, Crypto Capital was responsible for the “unregulated” transmission of a vast sum of money.

It was “a shadow bank that processed hundreds of millions of dollars of unregulated transactions on behalf of numerous cryptocurrency exchanges”, the office alleged.

Another piece of the puzzle which authorities are yet to solve focuses on the role of Ravid Yosef, a person with Israeli citizenship.

He faces charges pertaining to the alleged scam, although he has not been taken into custody just yet.

Traders asked to avoid North Korean conference

Cryptocurrency traders have been warned by experts and governments to avoid a cryptocurrency conference being held in the secretive nation of North Korea.

The country, which is known for being one of the most isolated nations on earth, is hosting the conference in February.

Government officials and experts around the world have told crypto traders to avoid it – with the British government appearing to suggest that going along to the conference could lead to North Korea enhancing its abilities to earn money for weapons programmes.

The rationale for many of the warnings comes from the fact that North Korea is on the sanctions lists of several nations.

As a result, attending the conference could leave the attendee in violation of the law.

It is believed by some that the conference may focus in particular on ways in which cryptocurrencies could be used for money laundering purposes.