The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged a Nevada man for his involvement in a cryptocurrency scheme called CoinDeal. According to the allegations, Bryan Lee conspired with CoinDeal leader Neil Chandran to defraud investors through Chandran’s companies. Lee was the nominee owner and director of ViMarket, which claimed to be developing VR and ‘metaverse’ technologies and an associated cryptocurrency. Investors were promised ‘extremely high returns’ by Chandran, while Lee put the funds into ViMarket’s bank accounts.
The DOJ has said that both individuals spent millions of dollars worth of misappropriated funds on non-business expenses, including luxury cars and property. Lee could face up to 110 years in prison on various counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and engaging in monetary transactions on criminally derived property. He has not yet been found guilty and will make his first appearance in court immediately.
The DOJ previously announced charges against Chandran in June 2022, who was also arrested at that time. The agency also said that another conspirator, Michael Glaspie, plead guilty in February 2023 and will be sentenced in June. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) additionally charged eight parties in connection to the CoinDeal scheme in January 2023.
CoinDeal stole around $45 million from 10,000 victims in total. This case highlights the importance of investors carefully vetting schemes and thoroughly researching the individuals behind them. While cryptocurrencies offer exciting opportunities, the current landscape remains unregulated and investors are advised to exercise caution.