An investment banker formerly employed by Deutsche Bank has been charged with perpetrating a crypto-related fraud. The man from Brooklyn has been accused of misappropriating funds from victims whom he promised large returns on cryptocurrency investments in a Ponzi-like scheme.
Ex-Deutsche Bank Investment Banker Arrested and Charged for Defrauding Crypto Investors
Rashawn Russell, a 27-year-old investment banker and registered broker from Brooklyn, New York, was arrested on April 10 on criminal charges related to his alleged role in running a crypto investment fraud scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.
Prosecutors claim that Russel defrauded multiple investors, luring them with promises of big and even guaranteed returns from cryptocurrency investment and trading. However, he used their money for his own benefit, to gamble and to repay other investors in order to keep the scheme going.
The indictment alleges that the accused repeatedly failed to provide investors with the promised rates of return. And when some of them requested to be repaid their investments, he falsely represented that he had wired them the money.
While the document only mentions he worked as an investment banker between July 2018 and November 2021, Reuters reported that Russel became investment banking analyst at Deutsche Bank in July 2018 and was promoted to associate in July 2020.
Declining to comment specifically on an ongoing legal case, the bank stated through a spokesperson that it “regularly supports law enforcement and regulatory oversight efforts, including appropriately responding to and cooperating with authorized investigations and proceedings.”
Russell solicited investments from friends, former classmates and colleagues, whom he convinced he had developed a successful strategy for altcoin trading, Bloomberg detailed in a report. He is charged with one count of wire fraud and would face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted. The banker pleaded not guilty and was released on a $200,000 bail.
“Russell turned the demand for cryptocurrency investments into a scheme to defraud numerous investors in order to fund his lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace was quoted as stating.
“This Office will continue to aggressively pursue fraudsters perpetrating these schemes against investors in the digital asset markets,” he emphasized. Russel’s indictment comes amid an ongoing crackdown on crypto-related fraud in the United States.
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