A French citizen, Thomas Clausi, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for orchestrating a cryptocurrency scam in Morocco. The 21-year-old must also pay a $3.7 million fine to customs authorities and compensate his victims. Clausi’s trial began a few years ago when he purchased a Ferrari for $440,000 worth of Bitcoin from a Frenchwoman residing in Morocco. The use of digital assets as a payment method is considered illegal under local law. He also purchased three luxury watches with a counterfeit check and has been ordered to refund the owner of the items for $4,000.
Crypto Scammers Sentenced to Jail
Authorities have recently been successful in arresting and sentencing crypto fraudsters. For instance, Gilbert Armenta, the ex-lover of Ruja Ignatova, known as the “Cryptoqueen,” has been sentenced to five years in prison for participating in the OneCoin scam. Cooper Morgenthau, the former CFO of African Gold, has also been sentenced to three years for stealing $5 million from different SPACs to trade meme stocks.
Hostile Stance from Moroccan Lawmakers
Despite the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in Morocco, the use of digital assets as a payment method is considered illicit under local law. The country’s central bank, Al-Maghrib, has expressed its intention to create a regulatory framework for the asset class to ensure maximum security for users.
Other Crypto Scammers Face Possible Jail Sentences
Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, and Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, are also facing possible jail sentences for orchestrating multi-billion cryptocurrency frauds. Kwon was arrested in Montenegro in March and could be extradited to either the USA or South Korea for trial. Bankman-Fried is currently residing in California and awaiting trial for his involvement in the FTX meltdown.