Miami man gets 5+ years in prison for running nearly $1 million cryptocurrency scheme

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A Miami man who ran a fraudulent cryptocurrency and stock investment scheme that netted him nearly $1 million has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Ryan James Crawford, 30, was also ordered to forfeit $988,895.85, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida said Wednesday. Crawford, also known as “Brody,” described himself as a cryptocurrency entrepreneur claiming he was going to make people rich with his new crypto coin called “Cheetah.” “We are about to take over the world,” Crawford can be heard saying in a video that was posted on Dec. 5, 2021. But authorities said that from June 2020 through March 2022, Crawford tricked victims into investing almost $1 million in his scheme. Crawford falsely claimed to be a highly successful licensed stockbroker who had made tens of millions of dollars through similar cryptocurrency and stock investments, and falsely claimed to have access to enough money to timely repay potential investors, authorities said. He also falsely claimed that he had developed an artificial intelligence trading software that “never lost,” and misrepresented the investment as low-risk and high reward, among other things, prosecutors said. Crawford didn’t return any victim funds, or generate the returns he promised, but diverted investors’ funds and cryptocurrency for his own personal use on some occasions, including to pay for luxury rental cars and gambling at the casino, authorities said. After a lengthy investigation that began after the NBC6 Investigators looked into the case, Crawford was arrested in Colorado and hit with eight counts of wire fraud. The NBC6 Investigators spoke with some of Crawford’s victims earlier this year, who described how they lost tens of thousands of dollars. “I lost about $130,000,” Dorian Godfrey said. “Well, I would call it disgusting. It’s theft. It’s very, very evil.” “I lost $75,000,” Humza Quadri said. “Half of it was my fund and the other half was my parents’ funds. So it was … it was quite heartbreaking and I still didn’t have the heart to tell my parents.”

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