Esteban Cabrera Da Corte faces 63 months in prison after being caught as the mastermind of a gang running cryptocurrency scams. The scam cost both crypto exchanges and US banks more than $4 million in total.
In 2020, Corte managed a crypto scam that saw him and his associates purchase $4 million in cryptocurrency. While buying crypto is completely legal, Corte and his associates reported the purchases as unauthorized.
This caused the money to be redeposited in his account. He and his crew used linked bank accounts to transfer money between themselves to keep up the guise. The crew was able to pass money back and forth to mask their activity using a series of false bank accounts.
Following a lengthy investigation, the authorities managed to capture the scammer’s ring leader and two suspects in 2022. They found the scammer using a fake license and passport.
After being put on trial, a judge sentenced Corte to five years in federal prison. The mobster now has to pay $4.7 million in forfeitures and restitution.
“After the cryptocurrency was transferred, the defendants made telephone calls to the US banks during which they falsely represented that the cryptocurrency purchases were unauthorized, leading the banks to reverse the transactions,” said the Department of Justice (DoJ) in a release on the verdict. “This sentencing should send a clear message that we, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to zealously prosecute cryptocurrency scammers and money launderers.”
While catching the scammer is a big win for the DoJ, over $1 billion has been the victim of a cryptocurrency scam in 2023 alone. The money Corte and his associates stole is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cryptocurrency scams running rampant on the market.
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