The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Bryan Lee, a Las Vegas resident, with conspiring to defraud investors in a $45 million cryptocurrency scam. Lee is accused of working with Neil Chandran and other parties to defraud over 10,000 investors through one of the companies controlled by Chandran. The DOJ alleges that Lee was the nominee owner and director of ViMarket, an entity controlled by Chandran, and that he took direction from Chandran on how to disburse investor funds.
Charges Faced by Bryan Lee
Lee has been charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property. If convicted, Lee could face up to 20 years in prison for each of the mail fraud, conspiracy counts, and wire fraud, and another 10 years for each count of engaging in criminal monetary transactions.
Background of the Scam
Chandran was behind several Metaverse-related entities, including Free Vi Lab, ViDelivery Inc., and ViMarket Inc., that promised suspiciously high returns to investors, which were supposed to be acquired “by a consortium of wealthy buyers.” The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Chandran and seven others in January 2022 for their involvement in the CoinDeal scheme. Chandran was arrested in June 2022. Michael Glaspie, who was responsible for marketing CoinDeal, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud earlier this year and will be sentenced in mid-June.
Possible Penalties for Bryan Lee
Lee faces significant penalties if found guilty of the charges. The DOJ’s statement highlights the severity of the allegations and the impact on investors. The DOJ’s efforts to bring charges against those involved in the scam demonstrate the government’s commitment to protecting investors and prosecuting fraudulent activity in the cryptocurrency market.