July 24, 2024

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Three Britons charged with NFT fraud in US

Three Britons charged with NFT fraud in US

Three British nationals have been charged in the US with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in connection with the “Evolved Apes” nonfungible token (NFT) scam.

They are Mohamed-Amin Atsa, Mohamed Rilas Waleed and Dawood Hassan, who, according to US authorities, inflated the price of 10,000 NFTs with false promises about the development of the video game. Later he allegedly abandoned the project after defrauding the funds.

Almost 800 Ethereum were stolen

According to A statement Almost 800 Ethereum (ETH), worth €2.5/$2.7 million at the time, was stolen from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. “Digital art may be new, but the old rules still apply: it’s illegal to make false promises for money,” emphasized US Attorney Damian Williams. He added: “NFT fraud is not a game and those responsible will be held accountable.”

FBI Assistant Director James Smith underscored the dishonesty of the suspects: “Ghosting customers without fulfilling their promises not only reflects poor business integrity, but also violates the implicit trust in sellers when purchasing a product.”

The sale of Evolved Ape NFTs took place on September 24, 2021 and raised over $2 million on the first day. The Evolved Apes website suggested a legitimate plan with clauses such as “road map” and “phases”, claiming that a fighting game would be launched exclusively for NFT holders. However, less than two weeks later, on October 5, 2021, the website was taken offline, leaving investors empty-handed.

The stolen funds were transferred to personal wallets

Notably, Waleed transferred the stolen money to a personal wallet address. Although the cryptocurrency exchange initially blocked the funds, Waleed was able to reactivate the withdrawal option by misrepresenting that he needed the money for his grandmother’s cancer treatment.

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The Public Prosecution Service is now demanding that the three suspects forfeit $875,850 in Tether (USDT). Wallet address It says “0x519…6ed70”. The wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.