New York investment banker indicted for alleged crypto Ponzi

Rashawn Russell, an investment banker and former FINRA-registered broker, was indicted on Tuesday for wire fraud, allegedly making false promises to clients of his R3 Crypto Fund and misusing their money to gamble and payout previous investors.

The document filed in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) on April 6 claims that Russell pitched colleagues and friends on his cryptocurrency fund, convincing them through his reputation in the finance industry. A LinkedIn profile for a Rashawn Russell based in New York says he works at Deutsche Bank as an investment banking associate.

The 27-year-old allegedly guaranteed a return to investors — sometimes promising up to 25% — and told them a former client more than doubled their money in three months.

The indictment specifically describes the experiences of four investors who transferred between $90,000 and $295,000 to the R3 fund. Authorities believe that investments were regularly used to pay previous investors and to afford Russell’s gambling interests.

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Russell allegedly doctored bank statements in order to mislead investors about the status of their funds, and created fake wire transfer confirmations to keep up appearances. Russell now faces up to 20 years in prison.

A previous EDNY bankruptcy filing against a Rashawn Russell claims he breached agreements made with four investors who are still owed between $12,500 and $287,000. They claim Russell didn’t deny the debts.

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