January 2, 2020
Four men responsible for orchestrating the $722 million BitClub Network cryptocurrency fraud have been arrested. Jobadiah Sinclair from Arvada, Colorado and Matthew Brent Goettsche from Lafayette, Colorado were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while Joseph Frank Abel of Camarillo, California, was also charged with conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities. Silviu Catalin Balaci faced similar charges. The maximum penalty for wire fraud charges is 25 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each charge.
The BitClub Network was established in 2014 as a purported bitcoin mining investment opportunity as “the most innovative and lucrative way to earn bitcoin.” The U.S. Justice Department’s indictment, however, identified BitClub Network as a Ponzi scheme with Sinclair, Goettsche, Abel, and Balaci stealing millions from investors and even used the term “Ponzi” in correspondence. Moreover, the men attempted to sell shares in BitClub Network without registering the offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.