Several victims of young cryptocurrency fraudster Stefan Qin are demanding that the court hand him a maximum prison sentence, Bloomberg reports today.
Aggrieved by the loss of their money, some of the victims wrote to U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, who will be in-charge of Qin’s sentencing later today, asking that the defendant be put behind bars for a longer period.
Most of the investors told Judge Caproni that they lost their life savings as a result of the failed investment.
Ying Liu, 41, a victim who lost $350,000 to the fraudulent crypto scheme, said in a letter to the judge that it is about time the U.S. criminal justice system implements its main objectives, adding:
“Keep the criminals locked up, and the community safe. I can’t bear the fact of this happening to someone else again. I can’t have that on my conscience, can you?”
In 2017, Qin launched Virgil Sigma Fund LP, a fake cryptocurrency investment scheme that promised investors an annual return of 500%.
He became famous in 2018, when the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published his profile for managing over $23.5 million worth of investors’ funds, and by 2020, the total sum had increased to about $90 million.
Toward the end of 2020, investors had requested for their funds as losses increased significantly. In order to process its clients’ withdrawal requests, Qin made efforts to raid another of his firm known as VQR Multistrategy Fund LP.
However, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) had frozen the company’s assets, with Qin declared wanted for various security charges.
In February, Qin voluntarily reported himself to the SEC and pleaded guilty to the charges filed against him, and he has so far helped authorities recover some of the lost funds.
Investigators noted that Qin defrauded over 100 people by promising to generate an annual return of 500% for their investments.
The 24-year-old who claimed to be a math wizard, told the unsuspecting victims that he had developed a trading program called Tenjin, which is capable of exploiting the price gaps of cryptocurrencies across 40 different trading platforms.
These false claims prompted several people to invest nearly $90 million, which Qin used to fund his extravagant lifestyle, including living in a rented Manhattan penthouse apartment that cost $23,000 per month.
Qin also made failed investments in Real Estate and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), the report added.
Qin Faces Up to 20 Years Behind Bars
Considering Qin’s crimes, he could face a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. However, federal sentencing guidelines indicate that he could end up behind bars for between 151 and 188 months.
However, probation officers are recommending 96 months for the defendant since he does not have any past criminal record coupled with the fact that he voluntarily surrendered himself to authorities to face charges.
The defense lawyers are demanding that the Judge should issue a two-year sentence to Qin since he took responsibility for his actions early enough.