A Staten Island man has been indicted for posing online as a masked financial advisor. He is accused of donning the infamous ‘anonymous’ hacker mask in a video and duping investors into his sham cryptocurrency firm. This according to an official press release from Eastern District of New York Attorney’s office, March 26, 2019,
As per the release, Patrick McDonnell alias Jason Flack used “smoke and mirrors” to dupe investors into sending him money through his company CabbageTech between 2016 and 2018.
According to the indictment filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, the investors believed they were paying for “advice and strategies in cryptocurrency trading,” but McDonnell pocketed the cash instead. The prosecution states that McDonnell, who according to Bloomberg once called himself “The Coyote of Wall Street,” made his victims believe his company was legit and went on to tell them he had over 8,000 investors and had traded over $50 million in Bitcoin.
False Promises and Sending Them Fraudulent Statements
The 46-year-old McDonnell can be seen in a YouTube video discussing virtual currencies like Bitcoin while donning a Guy Fawkes mask. The faux cryptocurrency trader is alleged to have been sending his client fake bank statements claiming their cryptocurrency investment was doing well but stopped answering whenever a client asked for their money back.
Prosecutors say that McDonnell never invested the money but instead spent at least $194,000, 4.41, Bitcoin, 206 Litecoin and other virtual currency on himself. United States attorney Donoghue stated:
“As alleged, the defendant defrauded investors by making false promises and sending them fraudulent balance statements, hiding the fact that he was stealing their money for his personal use […] the defendant’s fraud ends now, he will be held responsible for his criminal conduct.”
Repay Investment Together With Penalties
McDonnell, who appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday without his trademark mask, is being charged with wire fraud in connection with the scheme to defraud investors in cryptocurrency. He is accused of cheating at least ten investors out $235,889 in cash and virtual currency like Bitcoin and faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
As BTCmanager reported in August last year, the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) won a court order against the same Patrick McDonnell to permanently ban him. The judge at that time ruled that McDonnell was running a “boiler room” to defraud investors and ordered him to repay the investment together with penalties. McDonnell then briefly represented himself in court on the grounds that he was unable to afford legal counsel before he stopped attending the court proceedings altogether.