Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Jon Thompson, the director of Volantis Escrow Platform LLC and Volantis Market Marking LLC, has admitted to committing a multimillion dollar crypto scam.
Last July, the US Department of Justice charged Thompson with two counts each of wire fraud and commodities fraud for taking $7 million from clients and agreeing to provide them with Bitcoin—and then not delivering.
Fourteen months later, he's pled guilty to one count of commodities fraud, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York today announced.
This specific case deals with just one of multiple clients Thompson allegedly defrauded. The unidentified company sent Thompson $3.25 million to buy Bitcoin under the belief—perpetuated by Thompson—that Volantis would act as an escrow account. That is, it would take dollars from one party, Bitcoin from the other, and distribute the appropriate amounts back to each party after those transactions settled.
But according to acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, “While Thompson had pledged not to part with the company’s money until he had possession of the Bitcoin, in fact Thompson sent the money to a third party without first receiving the Bitcoin, and the money was never recovered.”
Which is not how an escrow account works.
Via Volantis' marketing materials, Thompson claimed that this method would "minimize settlement default risk." But all it did was cost a company a cool $3 million.
Sentencing is scheduled for January 7, 2021.