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Crypto escrow agent dodges jail after mendacity over stolen tens of millions

02/05/2021

A crypto escrow agent has prevented jail time regardless of mendacity about dropping $3.25 million, with the decide noting the agent had been the sufferer of fraud himself.

A Manhattan federal decide has let an escrow agent stroll free for deceiving a crypto funding supervisor about having bought $3.25 million value of Bitcoin on their behalf in 2018. 

Throughout a listening to held over video convention on Feb. 4, U.S district Choose Edgardo Ramos ordered Volantis Market Making founder John Barry Thompson of Pennsylvania to repay the $3.25 million to New York-based funding supervisor, Iterative OTC, and sentenced him to a few years of supervised launch. Thompson pleaded responsible in October 2020.

In line with authorized publication Regulation 360, Choose Ramos took into consideration Thompson’s lack of ill-intent and the actual fact he had been sufferer of fraud himself, stating:

“Mr. Thompson engaged in critical felonious conduct [but] now we have to place that in context. This was an uncommon fraud.”

Choose Ramos was additionally keen to grant Thompson some leeway resulting from issues concerning Covid-19’s affect on the overcrowded U.S jail system. With the chance of contracting the virus being very excessive and a scarcity of available vaccinations in prisons, Ramos famous the U.S judicial system wanted to “relieve as a lot stress as we are able to from the correctional amenities.” 

In 2018, Thompson’s escrow agency Volantis was despatched $3.25 million by Iterative OTC to buy 500 Bitcoin on their behalf. Nonetheless, whereas making an attempt to buy the BTC from a 3rd occasion, Thompson discovered himself at a loss when the sellers allegedly took Iterative’s $3.25 million with out offering any Bitcoin in return.

The 2 sellers, disbarred lawyer Phillip Reichenthal and fugitive Randy Craig Levine, at the moment are dealing with fraud expenses in an ongoing court docket case earlier than Manhattan U.S District Choose Lewis A. Kaplan.

Regardless of having misplaced the funds, Thompson lied to Iterative for days concerning the unsuccessful commerce and falsified account statements to indicate a stability for the BTC that was by no means bought.

In July 2018, Thompson once more falsified paperwork after a second shopper transferred Volantis $4 million to buy BTC that was by no means acquired. Choose Ramos ordered Thompson to repay the $4 million.

Thompson assured the decide that he would hold a clear slate shifting ahead, stressing that whereas he was responsible of deceiving his shoppers, his intention had been for the offers to succeed.

“I can promise your honor … I can’t be in bother with the legislation once more,” he mentioned.