The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Tuesday arrested Rhode Island cryptocurrency trader Jeremy Spence on allegations that his “Coin Signals” crypto funds bilked investors of $5 million between November 2017 and April 2019.
The 24-year-old proprietor of at least three crypto funds allegedly ran their value into the ground, losing millions of dollars for 170 investors. Spence tried to hide his losses by funneling over $2 million of newcomers’ bitcoin and ethereum positions to old-timers in a “Ponzi-like” fashion, according to a complaint unsealed Tuesday in federal court.
He also fabricated account balances to show Coin Signals investors in the green, prosecutors allege. Spence once falsely told his investors they were up 148% in a single month, according to the complaint.
In doing so, prosecutors allege Spence committed commodities fraud and wire fraud. Those charges could add up to 30 years in federal prison if prosecutors secure a conviction and maximum allowable sentence.
Spence’s crypto funds have landed him in hot water before. In 2018, crypto lawyer David Silver of Silver Miller Law filed a civil suit over the trader’s alleged Ponzi scheme on behalf of 22 Coin Signals investors. Miller secured a summary judgment and $2.9 million in damages against Spence in mid-December.
“We are pleased that after nearly two years, the government has finally indicted Mr. Spence to hold him accountable to his many victims, Silver told CoinDesk. “The real question remains, where is the stolen bitcoin? My clients would prefer a return of their bitcoin more than the unsatisfied $3,000,000 Judgment.”