Latvian Extradited to US for Wire Fraud Involving Crypto Investments – Bitcoin News

Latvian Extradited to US for Wire Fraud Involving Crypto Investments – Bitcoin News

A Latvian national has been handed over to the United States where he is accused of fraud through several companies offering bogus crypto investment opportunities. Ivars Auzins will appear in federal court in Brooklyn to face multiple charges of wire fraud and securities fraud.

Latvian Authorities Transfer Suspected Crypto Scammer to US Custody

Ivars Auzins, a citizen of the small Baltic nation of Latvia, was extradited to the United States on Friday. The Latvian was handed over to a US court on a six-count indictment charging him with wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud in connection operating eight companies that claimed to offer, invest in, or mine digital assets.

Auzins will be arraigned Saturday in federal court in Brooklyn before the Honorable Roanne L. Mann., the US Department of Justice said in a news release. The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace and Michael J. Driscoll, Deputy Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office:

Auzins carried out a brazen scheme in which he defrauded investors who funneled millions of dollars into fraudulent cryptocurrency. This office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who lie and steal from investors, including those like the accused who operate from overseas.

According to the indictment, the Latvian allegedly ran several companies, the “Auzins Entities”, which advertised through email campaigns, social networks and websites dedicated to cryptocurrencies. They suggested valuable investment opportunities and solicited investments before suddenly disappearing.

Two of them, Denaro and Bitroad, have raised funds through initial coin offerings (ICOs). Impressio Estate, Broi Investments (Bankroi), Changepro, Gemneon Investments and Lycovest presented themselves as crypto investment platforms offering different investment plans and profit rates. Innovamine has proposed investments in mining a number of coins, including bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

Auzins and his co-conspirators allegedly enticed investors to invest in their projects through a series of material misrepresentations and omissions regarding the products and services offered, the profits investors would earn by investing in the Auzins Entities, and the people who exploited.

Between November 2017 and approximately July 2019, individuals in the United States and other jurisdictions transferred at least $7 million in digital assets to Auzins companies. Shortly after receiving these investments, these entities disappeared without providing the promised services, the DOJ pointed out.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with Latvian law enforcement to secure the arrest and extradition of Ivars Auzins to the United States, and the US Marshals Service carried out the extradition , details the announcement. The New York regional office of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission participated in the investigation.

Auzins’ transfer to the United States comes after the recent extraditions of two Russian nationals accused by US authorities of a crypto-related crime. The Netherlands last week transferred Denis Dubnikov, 29, accused of laundering the proceeds of ransomware attacks against individuals and organizations in the United States, including hospitals and healthcare providers. Earlier this month, Greece extradited Alexander Vinnik, 42, an alleged BTC-e operator who allegedly laundered at least $4 billion through the now-defunct digital asset exchange.

Keywords in this story

Crypto, Crypto Fraud, crypto investments, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, entities, extradition, fraudster, ICOs, Investments, Investors, Ivars-Auzins, Latvia, Latvian, Securities

Do you expect more extraditions to the United States of people suspected of crypto-related crimes? Tell us in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a tech-savvy Eastern European journalist who loves Hitchens’ quote: “Being a writer is who I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Nomad_Soul

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