Just when we think the cryptoverse has become crime free, another bizarre story about fraud and deceit pops right back up.
This time, the betrayal comes from CEO of Bitcoin Inc., Morgan Rockwell who dazzled the entire world with his vision for the world’s first Bitcoin city. ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ is an understatement for this scenario as Mr. Rockwell’s crypto utopia has turned out to be a bust when he pleaded guilty on the 8th of March to committing two crypto crimes.
As per a report by the Lost Angeles Times, Rockwell accepted that he had sold investors interested in his crypto city project land that he never owned along with owning and operating a funds transfer operation without a licence.
The report also stated that this wasn’t Rockwell’s first brush with law enforcement as back in 2015 he caught their attention for his Bitcoin to fiat currency exchange which as per US law, should be licensed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in order to work as a functioning business.
The crypto city, Bitcointopia had attracted a lot of investors thinking it a lucrative business venture. The project is defined as “the desert crypto-kingdom of the future” yet it’s website is no longer functional. The LA Times report revealed that Rockwell launched off the project while he was out on bail for a 2016 money fraud undercover operation. The project’s Twitter handle gives the rates of different acres of land.
1 Acre – 0.5 BTChttps://t.co/01VBLO3vwP
2 Acres – 1.0 BTChttps://t.co/tAHD2DCUvF
3 Acres – 1.5 BTChttps://t.co/Z8ZW40qdMy
Email your name & TXID to firstname.lastname@example.org to buy your very own acreage today!
— Bitcointopia (@Bitcointopia) October 19, 2018
Rockwell had previously claimed that he owned 500 to 1,000 acre plots in Elko County, Nevada but as per his prosecutors in actuality only had under 5 acres of land that was not even in the same spot. As per the report his investors lost approximately $45,600.
Rockwell also told his prosecutors that over 10 investors had already signed deals for the crypto city as part of his plea agreement.
The future of the Bitcointopia CEO looks grim as he not only faces 5 years of jail time for the operation of an unlicensed money transfer business but also faces up to 20 years for the land fraud.
That just goes to show you that crime doesn’t pay. Let’s hope instances of exploitation and fraud such as these do not deter people from investing and more importantly understanding that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology isn’t all bad.