Prosecutors with the Southern District of New York alleged that Saint Clair lured investors to buy into the “World Sports Alliance” using his IGOBIT digital currency, promising investors equity the in organization from 2017 to September 2019.
U.S. prosecutors charged Asa Saint Clair, the president of a nonexistent United Nations affiliate, with fraud Wednesday, alleging he defrauded investors using the IGOBIT digital token.
According to the indictment, IGOBIT was never built, and the project’s investors did not receive the tokens they were promised.
“As alleged, Asa Saint Clair used World Sports Alliance, a sham affiliate of the United Nations, as a vehicle to defraud lenders”, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Saint Clair allegedly defrauded investors in IGOBIT, a digital currency he claimed WSA was developing, but which turned out to be the fraudulent bait with which to lure victim investors.”
Instead, Saint Clair is said to have siphoned off the money for his personal use.
“Saint Clair allegedly touted his company as promoting the values of sports and peace for a better world, yet defrauded all those who invested in his sham company”, Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh said in a statement. “As alleged, Saint Clair used the money he earned through deceit to fund a lavish lifestyle for him and his family.”
Saint Clair faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud.
US Says Venezuelan President Maduro Hid Massive Drug Ring Proceeds in Crypto
The sweeping charges against Maduro and 14 other Venezuelan officials are primarily targeted at stopping an alleged multibillion-dollar cocaine trafficking ring the DOJ claimed wreaked havoc on American communities for over 20 years. It allegedly involved drug runners, Colombian revolutionaries and narco-terrorism.
Venezuela’s crypto superintendent, Joselit Ramirez Camacho, 33, was also indicted in a separate action in the Southern District of New York.
In the indictment’s accompanying press release, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa D. Erichs said the conspiracy used crypto to cloak their alleged crimes.
“Today’s announcement highlights HSI’s global reach and commitment to aggressively identify, target and investigate individuals who violate U.S. laws, exploit financial systems and hide behind cryptocurrency to further their illicit criminal activity. Let this indictment be a reminder that no one is above the law – not even powerful political officials.”
The release does not name what cryptocurrency is involved. However, Venezuela notably maintains an oil-backed cryptocurrency called the petro. That project is regulated by Venezuela’s National Superintendent for Cryptoassets and Related Activities, Sunacrip.