An Ohio man is due to forfeit millions in cash, real estate and jewelry after pleading guilty to facilitating a fake crypto investment scheme.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, 52-year-old Michael Ackerman and his associates started a fraudulent crypto investment fund in 2017, luring potential investors with the promise of a 15% monthly return on their US dollars.
The DOJ says the fund claimed to run a “proprietary trading algorithm” to profit from Bitcoin and other crypto trades.
Ackerman claimed that by 2019, the fund’s value grew from $37 million to $315 million, a whopping 751% return within two years.
The DOJ says Ackerman touted the fund’s performance to existing and prospective investors who were looking to generate high returns.
In reality, however, the DOJ notes that Ackerman’s trading account had a balance below $5 million. The fraudster doctored numerous screenshots of his trading account to support his false claims.
According to the statement, Ackerman stole at least $9 million in investor contributions to finance his extravagant lifestyle including the purchase of real estate properties, jewelry and vehicles.
US Attorney Audrey Strauss provides details regarding Ackerman’s admission on his fraudulent scheme.
“As he admitted today, Michael Ackerman raised millions of dollars in investments for his fake cryptocurrency scheme by falsely touting monthly returns of over 15 percent, falsifying documents to con investors into thinking his fund had a balance of over $315 million, and spending millions in investor funds on himself. Now Ackerman awaits sentencing for his crime.”
Ackerman is now facing a potential 20-year prison sentence and restitution of over $30 million along with the forfeiture of more than $36 million in cash, jewelry and real estate.
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