Trendon Shavers, accused of running a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme with bitcoins, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.
Shavers, of McKinney, Texas, had originally pleaded not guilty back in March this year. Between September 2011 and September 2012, his Bitcoin Savings & Trust (BTCST) allegedly raised 764,000 bitcoins, worth roughly $4.5 million at the time, from investors. He promised returns of 7% per week, or 3,641% per year, claiming to employ market arbitrage strategies.
According to prosecutors, he in fact used new investor money to back prior investors. Some funds were allegedly invested on MtGox, at one point the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, which collapsed in February 2014. He also allegedly spent funds on lavish personal items. 48 investors reportedly suffered losses.
“I know what I did was wrong and am very sorry,” Shavers reportedly said in a court hearing.
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Prosecutors said it was the first criminal fraud case involving digital currency.
According to the plea deal, Shavers would plead guilty to one count of securities fraud. He will be sentenced to between 33 and 41 months in prison, provided that he does not appeal. He will also pay a $5 million fine.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 3.