The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accuses the founders of the HyperFund crypto project of running a fraud operation that took more than one million form unwitting investors.
Information about this appeared on the regulator’s website. According to the SEC, the scammers offered investors the opportunity to invest in highly profitable mining operations. They created a cryptocurrency exchange that attracted investments for Bitcoin (BTC) mining and launched a metaverse project.
However, the organizers made payments from funds raised from new investors. In total, the attackers managed to collect $1.7 billion in assets from unsuspecting investors. In addition to fraud, the founders of HyperFund are accused of illegally offering securities.
Despite the scale of the scam, organizer Sam Lee, an Australian citizen, faces a maximum sentence of five years. Burton, known as Bitcoin Rodney, will receive the same amount. The third defendant (Bitcoin Beautee), Brenda Chunga, will pay a fine and can avoid prison if she agrees to all charges.
“As alleged in our complaint, Lee and Chunga investors attracted with the allure of profits from crypto asset mining, but the only thing that HyperFund mined was its investors’ pockets.”
Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement
Earlier, Estonia approved the extradition to the United States of the founders of the cloud mining platform HashFlare and the digital bank Polybius Bank, Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin. American authorities accuse two citizens of the Baltic state of $575 million in cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering.
The Estonian government has decided to transfer Turogin and Potapenko to the United States for the second time. Their extradition had already been approved in September last year, but at the end of November a Tallinn court overturned it.