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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Latvian Extradited to US for Wire Fraud Involving Crypto Investments

Latvian Extradited to US for Wire Fraud Involving Crypto Investments – Ivars Auzins, a citizen of Latvia, a small country in the Baltics, was extradited to the US on Friday. A six-count indictment accusing the Latvian of wire fraud, securities fraud, as well as conspiracies to commit wire & securities fraud in connection with the operation of eight businesses that claimed to provide, invest in, or mine digital assets has led to the Latvian’s transfer to the American judicial system.

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According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Auzins will be arraigned on the charges contained in the indictment on Saturday in federal court in Brooklyn before the Honorable Roanne L. Mann. 

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Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, made the following announcements on the charges:

“Auzins perpetrated a brazen scheme in which he fleeced investors who funneled millions of dollars into fraudulent cryptocurrency. This Office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who lie and steal from investors, including those like the defendant who operate from abroad.”

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The Latvian was accused of running various businesses known as the “Auzins Entities,” which marketed via email campaigns, social media, and cryptocurrency-specific websites. Before abruptly leaving, they offered great financial prospects and requested investments.

Two of these, Denaro and Bitroad, raised funds through initial coin offerings (ICOs). Impressio Estate, Broi Investments (Bankroi), Changepro, Gemneon Investments, as well as Lycovest presented themselves as crypto investment platforms providing different investment plans & profit rates. Innovamine offered investments in mining a number of coins, which includes bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

By making a number of materially false statements and omissions regarding the goods and services that were being offered, the returns that investors would receive from investing in the Auzins Entities, and the people in charge of them, Auzins and his co-conspirators are alleged to have persuaded investors to fund their projects.

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Following the recent extraditions of two Russian citizens charged by American authorities of crypto-related crime, Auzins was sent to the United States. Denis Dubnikov, 29, who is suspected of laundering the proceeds of ransomware attacks on people and organizations in the United States, including hospitals and healthcare providers, was transported from the Netherlands last week. 

Latvian Extradited to US for Wire Fraud Involving Crypto Investments – Alexander Vinnik, 42, the purported owner of BTC-e, who is accused of laundering at least $4 billion through the now-defunct digital asset exchange, was extradited to Greece earlier this month.

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