Two men have been accused of using the pseudonyms ‘Bitcoin Yoda’ and ‘Blue Wizard’ to steal $25 million in a medley of crypto scams, including AI crypto trading bots and a fake recovery service.
According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), 51-year-old Australian David Gilbert Saffron and 52-year-old Vincent Anthony Mazzotta Jr. from Los Angeles lured victims into various crypto scams that they claimed utilized an AI trading bot that could invest deposited funds in crypto and earn “high-yield profits.”
However, the men allegedly spent investor funds on private jets, luxury vacations, and rented mansions. They’re also accused of splashing out on a personal chef, and security guards.
Victims were allegedly told they had incurred losses and had to pay a fake entity called the ‘Federal Crypto Reserve’ to help investigate and recover their losses.
‘Bitcoin Yoda’ not to be trusted, DoJ claims
According to the indictment, Saffron attempted to hide his identity by using a number of aliases, such as ‘Blue Wizard,’ ‘Bitcoin Yoda,’ ‘David Gilbert,’ and ‘Dave Gabe.’
In addition, the pair are accused of slowing down investigations by “concealing assets, concealing or destroying evidence, and falsifying records.” They also allegedly utilized crypto mixers and ‘blockchain hopping’ to obscure the origins of transactions.
Some of the fraudulent crypto programs allegedly owned by the two include Circle Society, Bitcoin Wealth Management, Omicron Trust, Mind Capital, and Cloud9Capital.
They are both charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, wire fraud, and money laundering. If found guilty, the pair face over 20 years in prison.