Latvian National Extradited to the U.S for Crypto and Wire Fraud

Key Takeaways:

  • Extradition of a Latvian national to the US for scamming cryptocurrency investors.
  • The Latvian man was sent to the United States, where he is charged with fraud for allegedly defrauding various businesses that offered cryptocurrency investment opportunities.

Ivars Auzins, a resident of Latvia, a tiny country in the Baltics, was extradited to the US on Friday.

The Latvian was turned over to American authorities based on a six-count indictment accusing him of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud in connection with the running of eight enterprises that claimed to provide, invest in, or mine digital assets.

Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, made the following observations:

“Auzins committed a heinous crime in which he defrauded investors of millions of dollars with phoney cryptocurrencies.”

He further explained, “This agency will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who defraud investors of their money, especially those like the accused who operate from abroad.”

The Latvian was accused of running various businesses known as the “Auzins Entities,” which were marketed via email campaigns, social media, and cryptocurrency-specific websites.

Before abruptly leaving, they offered great financial prospects and requested investments.

According to reports, Auzins and his associates misrepresented the services and goods they offered, the profits investors would receive if they purchased the Auzins Entities, and the persons in charge of them to entice financiers to invest money in their projects.

Initial coin offers (ICOs) were allegedly used by several of the Auzins Entities, including Denaro and Bitroad Limited, to solicit funding from investors.

Different investment plans and profit percentages to investors by other Auzins Entities represented themselves as cryptocurrency investment platforms. Bitcoin (BTC) and ether were two of the coins that Innovamine offered investment opportunities in the mining of.

By making several materially false statements and omissions regarding the goods and services being offered, the returns that investors would receive from investing in the Auzins Entities, and the people in charge of them, Auzins and his co-conspirators are alleged to have persuaded investors to fund their projects.

Investors in the US and other countries gave the Auzins Entities access to more than $7 million in crypto assets. Between November 2017 and July 2019, this occurred, and soon after, the Auzins Entities disappeared.

According to the announcement, Ivars Auzins was apprehended and extradited to the United States by the U.S. Marshals Service after collaboration between the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and Latvian law enforcement.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office assisted with the inquiry.

According to a recent report by the blockchain analytics company Chainalysis, cryptocurrency fraud will have decreased by 65% by 2022.

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