US man faces 40 years in prison for running bitcoin lottery scams.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Austin Nedved admitted in a federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, that he ran a business in which he bought and sold bitcoin for cash. He advertised his services on LocalBitcoins.com and Paxful. The Northborough resident operated his business from 2017 to 2019, aiding romance and lottery scammers to defraud unsuspecting victims, authorities said.

 

Scammers lured the victims with promises of lottery winnings.

In one particular case, a scammer posing as ‘Jonathan G’ deceived a 78-year-old victim into believing that he was a Massachusetts businessman. He led the victim to believe that he would marry her. Months into their online romance, Jonathan G lied that his oil company had experienced an accident and he needed money to rebuild it. The victim was led to Nedved, who sold her BTC worth $100,000, which she later sent to the fraudster Jonathan G. The DoJ stated, “When Nedved accepted $100,000 from the victim, Nedved knew or was willfully blind to the fact that the victim was a romance scam victim.” The scammers lured the victims with promises of lottery winnings. 

 

Nedved stands to face up to 20 years behind bars.

The scammers lured the victims with promises of lottery winnings or sizeable government grants, authorities said. To achieve them, the victims had to pay ‘administrative fees’ to the fraudsters. “In total, Nedved and co-conspirators, in exchange for payment, converted to Bitcoin more than $630,000 in cash that they received from others, knowing that the cash constituted proceeds of romance and lottery scams and other unlawful activities.” Nedved stands to face up to 20 years behind bars for aiding and abetting wire fraud, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $500,000.

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