FBI busts $43M crypto and Las Vegas hospitality Ponzi scheme

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), alongside a New York court, arrested a local resident under the allegations of orchestrating a sophisticated Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of $43 million. 

On May 1, Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI, charged Idin Dalpour with fraudulent activities that included deceptive investment opportunities in a Las Vegas hospitality venture and a cryptocurrency trading enterprise.

Dalpour allegedly lured unsuspecting investors with promises of substantial returns, which was nothing more than a facade concealing a large-scale Ponzi scheme.

According to the convictions outlined in the FBI indictment, Dalpour solicited investments through an entity under his control, falsely representing its interests in the hospitality and cryptocurrency sectors. 

As part of the cryptocurrency trading scheme, he claimed that he purchased crypto at wholesale and sold it at a profit to retail investors.

Investors were enticed by the prospect of annual returns starting at 42%, coupled with assurances of the safety of their investments through purported insurance and escrow arrangements.

Dalpour is alleged to have fabricated contracts, falsified bank statements, and fictitious email correspondence to hoodwink investors into believing in the viability of the ventures.

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The FBI says that the investor funds were instead siphoned off to fulfill earlier investors‘ returns, finance personal expenses — including exorbitant gambling losses — and cover private school tuition for Dalpour’s children.

James Smith, the assistant director of the FBI, said:

“Today’s arrest illustrates the FBI’s dedication to maintaining economic justice and ensuring the actions of one individual are not at the expense of others.”

The unraveling of Dalpour’s scheme came about when a group of victims confronted him in November 2023. Dalpour then confessed and acknowledged the gravity of his actions, stating, „[w]hat you already have, you have, you can put me in jail now. Like right now.“

This is one of multiple Ponzi scheme-related arrests with ties to crypto made by U.S. officials in the last year.

On March 15, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) busted a $300 million Ponzi scheme under the guise of a crypto trading platform called CryptoFX, which targeted crypto investors from the Latino community in the U.S. and two foreign countries.

A few days later, on March 18, a New York jury convicted two individuals who acted as promoters for the now-collapsed fake crypto mining and trading scheme IcomTech.

Most recently, on April 4, Irina Dilkinska, the former head of legal and compliance for the multibillion-dollar OneCoin fraud scheme, received a four-year jail sentence after admitting to her role in laundering millions of dollars.

Magazine: a16z snubs crypto, Mango Markets exploiter found guilty and Worldcoin L2: Hodler’s Digest, April 14-20


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