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Two 20-year-olds face charges in alleged $1.1 million NFT fraud

The duo have been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering for allegedly selling fake NFTs to investors before abandoning the project, shutting down their website and walking away with $1.1 million in digital funds.

They took the virtual money and ran away.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York on Thursday charged two 20-year-olds in connection with an alleged NFT fraud.

Ethan Vinh Nguyen and Andre Marcus Quiddaoen Llacuna have been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering for allegedly selling fake NFTs to investors before abandoning the project, shutting down their website and using 1.1 million digital funds US dollars had fled.

NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens are digital assets that blockchain technology is said to make unique and therefore scarce. In recent years, NFTs have fueled a boom in digital art sales.

“The trending market and demand for NFT investments has attracted the attention of not only true artists but scammers as well,” said Ricky Patel, Homeland Security Investigations’ acting special agent, in a statement. “The arrested thieves allegedly hid behind online identities, where they promised investors rewards, freebies and exclusive opportunities before executing their ‘rug pull’ program – leaving investors empty-pocketed and without a legitimate investment.”

Prosecutors say the couple placed wagers on their so-called “Frosties” series of NFTs within hours of selling the digital tokens – deleting the website and transferring the $1.1 million to multiple virtual wallets.

"embers" website
Ethan Vinh Nguyen and Andre Marcus Quiddaoen Llacuna have been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering for allegedly selling fake NFTs to investors before abandoning the project.
US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Nguyen and Llacuna planned to repeat the digital fly-by-night act with an NFT drop called “Embers” on March 26, prosecutors said.

The couple face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/24/two-20-year-olds-charged-in-alleged-1-1m-nft-scam/ Two 20-year-olds face charges in alleged $1.1 million NFT fraud

JACLYN DIAZ

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