Federal prosecutors say a 25-year-old Rhode Island man deceived more than 170 people who invested millions of dollars in his cryptocurrency investment company. On Wednesday, he was convicted to more than three years in prison and required to pay more than $2.8 million in restitution in New York City.
According to Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Jeremy Spence of Bristol, Rhode Island, propositioned more than $5 million in investments through misleading claims, such as false statements claiming his digital currency trading was very lucrative.
According to Williams, Spence utilized new investor monies to reimburse other investors as he lost money. According to authorities, Spence disbursed almost $2 million in cryptocurrencies to investors using monies already placed by other investors.
Spence was condemned to 42 months in prison by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, pleading guilty to criminal fraud earlier.
Spence’s attorneys, Federal Defenders of New York’s Sylvie Levine and Neil Kelly, stated in court records that Spence committed the offenses when he was 21 and 22 years old, becoming “in over his head” with the cryptocurrency company.
“The money wasn’t stolen or secreted away; it was lost in new, unregulated, volatile markets after it was entrusted to a 21-year-old college drop-out who should never have had that much responsibility in the first place,” they wrote. “In the real world, in traditional markets, no company would ever have entrusted him with that level of responsibility.”