Grace Uzodinma Edenwonovo
US prosecutors arrested the former head of Celsius Network on fraud charges on Thursday, a year after the cryptocurrency platform filed for bankruptcy protection while owing investors $4.7 billion.
A Justice Department indictment of Alexander Mashinsky listed seven criminal counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud and market manipulation.
Mashinsky is accused of “orchestrating a scheme to defraud customers of Celsius through a series of false claims about the fundamental safety and security of the Celsius platform,” said US Attorney Damian Williams of the southern district of New York state. “Whether it’s old-school fraud or some new-school crypto scheme, it doesn’t matter one bit. I
t’s all fraud to us,” Williams said in a press release. “And we’ll be here to catch it.”
Mashinksy, who was born in Ukraine before living in Israel and then the United States, faces decades of potential imprisonment, with each of the seven counts holding a maximum possible sentence of between five and 20 years.