Rashawn Russell potentially confronts a maximum prison sentence of three decades due to his involvement in the fraudulent cryptocurrency trading scheme.
By Pradeep Saran, September 20, 2023
A former investment banker previously employed by Deutsche Bank, Rashawn Russell, has admitted guilt in a case related to a fraudulent cryptocurrency trading scheme. The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement on September 19, disclosing that the 27-year-old Russell had pleaded guilty to charges of investment fraud. He now faces the possibility of a 30-year prison sentence.
The case revolved around Russell’s involvement in a deceptive crypto investment fund known as the “R3 Crypto Fund.” Between November 2020 and August 2022, Russell managed to defraud 29 investors, siphoning off a total of $1.5 million. He accomplished this by capitalizing on his reputation as an investment banker and licensed financial broker, assuring investors that he could deliver guaranteed and substantial returns on their crypto investments.
Russell’s deception included lying to investors about the performance of their investments and fabricating documents containing false information regarding their returns. The investigation revealed instances where Russell doctored images of his bank balance, which he then sent to his investors. In another instance, when an investor requested a withdrawal from their crypto investments, Russell failed to transfer the funds and instead sent the victim a falsified confirmation of the money transfer.
Prosecutors discovered that most of the $1.5 million obtained from the defrauded investors was not used for crypto investments as promised. Instead, Russell misappropriated the funds for his personal gain, gambling, and repaying earlier investors involved in the scheme.
In addition to his involvement in the investment scheme, Russell also admitted guilt in a separate identity theft scheme, wherein he illicitly acquired credit cards and other devices using fraudulent information. These identity documents were obtained with the intent to execute illegal and unauthorized transactions.
Upon sentencing, Russell could potentially face a 30-year prison term for his crimes. United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara has ruled that he will be obligated to make restitution exceeding $1.5 million to the victims affected by his actions.