Live Updates: Bitcoin Holds Below $16,000 as Genesis Worries Add to Crypto Gloom

Two Estonian citizens have been arrested and charged in connection with what US prosecutors have described as a $575 million cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering scheme.

Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turygin are accused of defrauding hundreds of thousands of victims, according to the US Department of Justice, which released an indictment against them on Monday.

The defendants allegedly tricked the victims into entering into fraudulent equipment rental contracts with men’s crypto mining service HashFlare. They are also accused of soliciting investments in a virtual currency bank called Polybius Bank, which prosecutors say was neither a bank nor paying the promised dividends.

The arrests of the two men, 37, are the latest indication that law enforcement is increasingly focusing on illicit crypto activity across the globe.

The arrests in Tallinn, Estonia also come amid the bankruptcy of FTX, a once-flagship crypto platform controlled by Sam Bankman-Fried, which in its heyday was considered one of the standard bearers of the crypto industry.

“New technologies have made it easier for malicious actors to take advantage of innocent victims – both in the United States and abroad – in increasingly complex scams,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite.

Earlier this month, the US secured the conviction of James Zhong, who once held more than $3 billion worth of bitcoins from Silk Road, an infamous dark net marketplace that accepted cryptocurrency in exchange. illicit goods.

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