Crypto Influencer ‘T.J. Stone’ Pleads Guilty To $1M Wire Fraud Scheme

Source Bitcoinist
May 18, 2024 01:00

In a Brooklyn federal court on Thursday, crypto personality Thomas John Sfraga, also known as “TJ Stone”, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges for defrauding over a dozen victims out of more than $1.3 million.

Fictitious Scheme Exposed

According to the US Department of Justice, from 2019 to 2022, Sfraga “falsely” presented himself as the owner and principal of several businesses, including Vandelay Contracting Corp. and Build Strong Homes LLC. He also claimed to be a “serial entrepreneur” with experience in real estate development, media relations, podcasting, and cryptocurrencies.

In this capacity, Sfraga allegedly convinced victims, many of them located in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island, to loan him money or invest in what turned out to be fraudulent schemes.

This included promising high returns of up to 60% within three months for investments in a fictitious cryptocurrency “virtual wallet.”  US Attorney Breon Peace stated:

For years, Sfraga brazenly lied to friends, neighbors, and investors to swindle over $1.3 million of their hard-earned life savings. This Office will continue to hold fraudsters accountable and achieve justice for victims throughout the Eastern District of New York and the United States.

Crypto Schemer Faces 20 Years In Prison

On one occasion, Sfraga reportedly convinced a victim to lend him $100,000 in cash as start-up costs for a “non-existent” major construction project. In reality, the US DOJ alleges that Sfraga simply converted the funds for his expenses to pay off earlier victims and business associates.

Sfraga pleaded guilty to the wire fraud charges before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom. When sentenced, he faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and must pay his victims over $1.33 million in restitution.

The guilty plea was announced by US Attorney Breon Peace and James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office. 

Crypto

As of the latest market update, cryptocurrency has seen a notable uptick, with surging prices across the largest digital assets.

Bitcoin (BTC), the flagship cryptocurrency, has regained the $67,000 mark for the first time since late April, rising nearly 10% over the past week. Ethereum (ETH), on the other hand, has been one of the biggest winners over the past 24 hours, rising 5.5% to a current trading price of $3,111.

Furthermore, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization has risen by 3% in the past 24 hours, currently at a $2.37 trillion, showcasing a renewed sense of bullish sentiment reverberating throughout the overall digital asset ecosystem.

Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com

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