Rashawn Russell, a former Deutsche Bank investment banker, has entered a guilty plea for his involvement in a fraudulent cryptocurrency trading scheme. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this development, revealing that Russell could face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
Russell’s fraudulent activities revolved around the operation of the “R3 Crypto Fund.” Between November 2020 and August 2022, he deceived 29 investors, amassing $1.5 million. Leveraging his reputation as an investment banker and licensed financial broker, Russell promised guaranteed, substantial returns on crypto investments. However, the DOJ found that he repeatedly misled investors, providing falsified documents to show fabricated returns.
Misappropriation of Funds
Most notably, Russell diverted the majority of the $1.5 million obtained from investors for personal use, gambling, and repaying earlier participants in the scheme. He went to great lengths to deceive investors, including altering images of his bank balance and sending fake money transfer confirmations instead of fulfilling withdrawal requests.
In addition to the crypto investment scheme, Russell also pleaded guilty to participating in an identity theft scheme. He fraudulently acquired credit cards and related items using false information, intending to carry out illegal and unauthorized transactions. Upon sentencing, Russell faces a potential 30-year prison term and has been ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara presided over the case.