Daily fraud update: 3rd February

Denise Jacksone

Crypto Capital co-founder: I won’t do a plea deal

A man who co-founded a crypto firm and now stands accused of bank fraud has refused to sign a plea deal with prosecutors in the US.

Reginald Fowler, who helped set up Crypto Capital, was taken into custody over claims that he operated a shadow banking platform for crypto firms.

He has since been charged with bank fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

He is also facing charges of operating a money transmission firm without the appropriate licenses in place.

He was offered a plea deal by prosecutors, but it came with a condition that he was not willing to accept.

He was told that he had to give up a large sum of cash, believed to be as much as $371m, which he had distributed across over 50 bank accounts.

The talks around a plea deal on at least one of the charge counts kicked off in January, which caused the trial to be delayed.

Prosecutors have now released a letter sent to the judge in the case. In it, they claim indicate that the offer has now been “formally withdrawn”.

“On Thursday, Mr. Fowler rejected the current plea offer, and the Government has formally withdrawn that offer; thus, the parties anticipate the case proceeding to trial as scheduled on April 28, 2020”, they said.

“Although the Court set a schedule for motions in limine in advance of trial, a motion schedule for general pretrial motions has not been set; thus, the parties will confer and submit a joint letter within the next week proposing a schedule for the Court’s consideration”, they added.

Florida’s CFO says crypto chief needed

A senior government figure in the US state of Florida has called for the state to hire a cryptocurrency chief in order to provide oversight of the sector.

Jimmy Patronis, who is the state’s chief financial officer and state fire marshal, said that he had asked his office to look into the creation of such a role – and that the new person would be specifically responsible for looking into how laws in the state pertain to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

In Florida, the chief financial officer is a government position and does not mean the same as the title might in the private sector.

“I have directed my office to create a position that will oversee how current securities and insurance laws apply to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies as well as shape the future of these regulations in our state”, he said.

He provided examples of other states which he claimed were already taking a proactive stance in regard to cryptocurrencies.

“The Alabama Securities Commission recently sent a cease and desist order to Platinum Coin from Miami to prohibit the company from issuing securities within Alabama”, he said.

“Other states have identified and are taking action against bad actors in the cryptocurrency industry. Florida must also protect our residents”, he added.

Denise Jacksone

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