On May 19, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed charges against a Nevada man involved in a cryptocurrency scheme called CoinDeal. Bryan Lee, a resident of Nevada, was accused of conspiring with CoinDeal leader Neil Chandran to defraud investors through Chandran’s companies.
Lee held the position of nominee owner and director at one of these companies, ViMarket, which claimed to be engaged in the development of virtual reality (VR) and “metaverse” technologies, along with an associated cryptocurrency. Chandran made promises of “extremely high returns” to investors, and Lee complied with Chandran’s instructions by depositing investor funds into ViMarket’s bank accounts.
According to the DOJ, both Lee and Chandran misused millions of dollars from investors for personal expenses, such as luxury cars and property. Lee now faces multiple charges, including conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and engaging in monetary transactions involving criminally derived property. The maximum sentence he could receive is 110 years in prison. It is important to note that Lee has not been found guilty yet and is set to make his first court appearance soon.
In a related development, the DOJ had previously announced charges against Neil Chandran in June 2022, resulting in his arrest. Michael Glaspie, another conspirator, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the scheme in February 2023 and is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
Furthermore, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against eight individuals in January 2023, in connection with the CoinDeal scheme. These charges were brought against parties involved in stealing approximately $45 million from 10,000 victims collectively.