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The FBI today arrested and charged the co-founder of blockchain event startup Blockparty for swindling $1 million in cash and crypto from the company to spend on luxury goods.
Rikesh Thapa, 28, who was Blockparty’s CTO from 2017 to 2019, stole 10 Bitcoin from the company and falsified trading records to cover his tracks, the Department of Justice alleged on Wednesday.
Thapa is also charged with embezzling $1 million in cash. The DOJ claims that he agreed to hold the money in his personal bank account while the company looked at banking options. Thapa later refused to give back the money and instead spent it on himself, authorities allege.
Thapa spent the stolen cash on nightclubs, travel, and clothes before again falsifying records to hide what he actually did with the money, according to the DOJ.
Prosecutors further allege that Thapa stole Blockparty’s utility tokens, set up a meeting with would-be investors, and convinced them to give him cash for the assets—without letting the company’s CEO know—so he could pocket the investment.
“As we allege today, the defendant repeatedly stole from and defrauded the victim company—which he co founded—in order to fund a luxurious personal lifestyle,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said.
Blockparty, an event ticketing protocol and NFT marketplace, was launched in 2017 by Thapa along with Shiv Madan and Vladislav Ginzburg.
Thapa, of San Diego, California, is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.