A Vietnamese is accused of NFT fraud in the US

 Le Anh Tuan, 26, founder of the NFT Baller Ape Club project, was accused of using the "carpet withdrawal" trick to capture $2.6 million from investors.


In a June 30 announcement by the US Department of Justice, Tuan was charged with two counts: conspiracy to commit online fraud and conspiracy to launder money internationally, related to the NFT selling project called Baller Ape Club.

According to the indictment, from September 2021 to March 2022, Tuan founded and operated the aforementioned project with his accomplices, through a number of US-based companies. This group uses fake identities to register websites, social media accounts, entice users to buy NFTs of the project.

Baller Ape Club is advertised as built on the Solana blockchain platform, with the product being monkeys, reminiscent of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection. The project sells 5,000 NFTs, with a price of 2 SOL each NFT from October 2021. At that time, each SOL digital coin costs from 280 to 320 USD. In addition, Baller Ape Club also offers benefits packages, including a package worth 50 SOL.

NFT in the Baller Ape Club project is said to be based on Bored Ape Yacht Club.
NFT in the Baller Ape Club project is said to be based on Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Just a day after selling NFT, Tuan performed a "carpet withdrawal", the term describing the act of closing the project, deleting the website with the purpose of stealing money from previous NFT buyers. In order to launder money, this group is said to use "chain jumping", which is to transfer illegal amounts of digital currency through various blockchains as well as cryptocurrency swapping services to remove traces. According to the indictment, the total amount earned by the group through the above activity is $2.6 million.

"If convicted of all crimes, Tuan will face up to 40 years in prison," the US Department of Justice's announcement stated. This is one of four crypto-related cases announced by the agency on June 30, with a total amount of fraud over $100 million.

"These cases are a reminder to people about scammers. They hide behind projects with trendy keywords, but ultimately still find ways to extort people's money," attorney Tracy L. Wilkison assessed.

Before Baller Ape Club, a number of NFT projects related to Vietnamese people were also accused of fraud, such as Crypto Bike, Floki Iron. According to a report by Chainalysis, cryptocurrency scams hit a record $14 billion last year, more than double the $7.8 billion in 2020.

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