A popular Instagram personality has been charged in the U.S., accused of stealing bitcoins worth millions of dollars from his followers. He allegedly convinced the â€œvictims to sell him their bitcoin at attractive, but inflated, valuesâ€ but he never wired them the money for the coins sent to him.
Instagram Influencerâ€™s Bitcoin Scam
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday that a popular Instagram personality known as â€œJay Maziniâ€ has been charged with wire fraud related to a bitcoin scam. The Justice Department wrote:
The DOJ explained that â€œIn reality, Igbara never sent the money, and stole at least $2.5 million worth of bitcoin from victims.â€
Acting U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko described that Igbara â€œused his immense social media popularity to dupe his followers into selling him bitcoin â€¦ at attractive, but inflated, values.â€ IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Jonathan Larsen similarly noted that â€œThis defendant allegedly used his online popularity to defraud those seeking to exchange bitcoin for cash above the market value.â€
According to the complaint, up until March this year, â€œIgbara, under the name â€˜Jay Mazini,â€™ maintained a popular Instagram account with nearly one million followers where he would post videos depicting himself handing out large amounts of cash to individuals as gifts.â€ The DOJ detailed:
â€œIgbara claimed that he was willing to pay above-market prices because the traditional bitcoin exchanges were limiting how much bitcoin he could purchase,â€ the Justice Department added.
When the victims agreed to the sale, Igbara â€œsent them documents that included images of purported wire transfer confirmation pages that falsely confirmed Igbara had sent a wire transfer for the promised amounts,â€ the complaint details. The victims then transferred their bitcoin to Igbara but â€œthe promised wire transfers never arrived.â€
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney pointed out that â€œThere was nothing philanthropic about the bitcoin transactions Igbara engaged in with his victims,â€ emphasizing that a quick online search â€œwill reveal an entirely different image of this multimillion-dollar scammer.â€
This investigation is still ongoing, and the authorities urge anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of this scheme to file a complaint with the FBI. If convicted, Igbara faces up to 20 years in prison.
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