A scammer has pleaded guilty this week to defrauding victims of up to $1.5 million by pretending to be a bitcoin investor, ex-Navy SEAL, and a McDonald’s owner.
Yesterday’s press release described how 35-year-old Ze’Shawn Stanley Campbell was able to convince one of his victims to hand him a cheque for $61,452 that he promised to invest in bitcoin. However, instead of buying up crypto, Campbell spent it on payments for his BMW and a Mercedes leased under another victim’s name.
The Orange County resident was able to defraud at least $250,000 from 19 separate victims between 2014 and 2020. He says he even fell in love with some of his victims.
To sell himself to his victims, he claimed to be:
- An owner of a number of McDonald’s franchises,
- a Navy SEAL who had toured in Iraq and Afghanistan,
- the founder of a security company,
- manager of a chain of gyms in Texas,
- and a millionaire.
Campbell would use his various guises to seduce victims into handing him their money and property, which he claimed would help fund his investments, businesses, and medical bills. But, as prosecutors said: “Rather than use the victims’ money as he promised, Campbell used it to pay personal expenses and to buy luxury items for himself.”
If victims stopped engaging with Campbell’s schemes, he’d secretly take out loans and credit cards in the victims’ names — while failing to cover the costs.
Campbell was arrested on March 6 last year and was charged with five counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
The bitcoin scammer pleaded guilty to one count of both wire fraud and money laundering and faces a statutory sentence of up to 30 years in prison.