DOJ cracks down on ‘rug pulls’, charging Frosties NFT project founders


The Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken action against an alleged NFT rug pull, after it slapped the founders of the Frosties project with charges relating to fraud and money laundering.

The two founders are accused of purposely concealing their identities to operate a rug pull on the Frosties community by failing to deliver on the project’s roadmap and “utility” which touted rewards for NFT hodlers, giveaways, access to a Metaverse game and exclusive access to future mints from the project.

How To Get Free Crypto  

According to a March 24 release from the Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, 20-year-olds Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna were arrested in Los Angeles and both charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in “connection with a million-dollar scheme to defraud purchasers” of the NFTs ‘Frosties.’

The DOJ’s complaint alleges that they “abruptly abandoned” and shut down the project within hours of selling out $1.1 million worth of NFTs, and transferred the proceeds to various crypto wallets “under their control in multiple transactions designed to obfuscate the original source of funds.”

“As the term suggests, a ‘rug pull’ refers to a scenario where the creator of an NFT and/or gaming project solicits investments and then abruptly abandons a project and fraudulently retains the project investors’ funds,” the release stated.

As part of the release, IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas Fattorusso warned that his team is watching crypto closely, and despite NFTs being a relatively new choice for financial investments, the “rules apply to an investment in an NFT or a real estate development,”:

Coinbase Banner  

“You can’t solicit funds for a business opportunity, abandon that business and abscond with money investors provided you. Our team here at IRS-CI and our partners at HSI closely track cryptocurrency transactions in an effort to uncover alleged schemes like this one.”

The DOJ also stated that prior to their arrests in Los Angeles, the duo were preparing to launch the sale of another NFT project dubbed “Embers” that was expected to generate “approximately $1.5 million in cryptocurrency proceeds.”

If they are found guilty, they may face a lengthy stay behind bars as each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Related: SafeMoon pump-and-dump lawsuit targets Jake Paul, Soulja Boy and others

While it appears that more than a few dodgy NFT projects flew under the radar of the DOJ in 2021, there is speculation that the department is ramping up its focus on the NFTs this year via its National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) which was formed in October.

In this instance, the investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York Field Office of the Department of Homeland Security (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

FreeBitcoin Banner  

Go to Source
Author: Brian Quarmby

Recommended Crypto Services, Products and Strategies:

The first thing any crypto investor needs is is a reliable and secure Crypto Wallet.  Whether you’re looking for an online wallet, hardware wallet, desktop or mobile wallet, Crypto Renegade provides you with all the Best Crypto Wallets in each category.

Best Crypto Wallets Banner

When you’re ready to buy more crypto, or exchange your coins for others, Crypto Renegade’s list of the Best Crypto Exchanges has you covered.  The Crypto Exchanges recommended here offer everything from simplicity and convenience to advanced trading platforms and profit sharing. 

Best Crypto Exchanges Banner

If you want to learn more about the methods and tools that can be used to find Great Crypto Projects, then be sure to check out Crypto Renegade’s strategy for How To Find The Best Cryptocurrency.

Crypto Strategy Banner

For those people that don’t have any money to invest right now, or just want to understand the technology a bit more, you’ll definitely want to check out Crypto Renegade’s Free Crypto Strategy and start collecting Free Coins today!

Free Crypto Banner

What do you think about cryptocurrency? Do you have any questions about it? Be sure to leave a comment below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.