The co-founder of a $32 million digital currency scam is reportedly set to plead guilty to defrauding thousands of investors. Sohrab Sharma was one of the three founders of Centra Tech, a scam that authorities said relied on celebrity endorsements to lure investors.
In a court filing on Monday, Sharma’s legal team informed U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield that he had decided to change his plea. His trial was set to take place in November, but in pleading guilty, he may avoid the trial altogether.
Sharma joins his two co-conspirators, Raymond Trapani and Robert Farkas, who have both taken a guilty plea for their role in defrauding investors with fake products and a worthless token.
As CoinGeek reported, Farkas pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in June. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
The three met while working at Miami Exotics, a luxury car rental company in Florida, authorities said. At the height of the ICO popularity, they founded Centra Tech, a company they claimed would pioneer the spending of digital currencies in retail outlets through its own debit card.
The three lied about the leadership of the firm, claiming that a fictitious CEO named Michael Edwards was at the helm, authorities said. They even used a random stolen photo on their website for Edwards. When the real owner of the photo ordered them to remove it, they allegedly came up with a plan to say that the CEO had died in a car accident.
it is amazing what hoops you have to jump through when you create fake people and install them as your top executives, but then have to get rid of them pic.twitter.com/yIoAtW2JZR
— Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) April 20, 2018
Centra Tech claimed to have partnered with the biggest debit card companies in VISA and Mastercard. However, the two companies later denied the partnership.
The company brought in boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled to lure investors. Through their social media pages, the two celebrities advertised the company, with Mayweather claiming that it would make investors a lot of money. The SEC later charged them as well, resulting in Mayweather paying over $600,000 in fines, while DJ Khaled paid over $150,000.
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