Recently, American law enforcement has apprehended Brandon Austin and his father, Eugene “Hugh” Austin, on allegations of perpetrating a grand cryptocurrency deception, effectively draining over $10 million from their unsuspecting investors. Brandon Austin has since conceded his guilt and awaits his sentencing verdict on September 6.
The Notorious Fraud Duo Caught
In the recent crackdown, federal agents have taken into custody 27-year-old Brandon Austin in April, followed by his father’s capture in July. The United States Attorney Damian Williams alleges that the father-son pair successfully duped a range of investors, from cryptocurrency novices to more experienced traders, depleting them of millions.
The Austins allegedly lured individuals into their crypto scheme by guaranteeing attractive investment returns. However, the duo manipulated their position of trust, pocketing every dime for their expenditure.
Lavish Lifestyle Financed by Duped Investors
Investigations reveal that the accused used the ill-gotten wealth to lead a life of luxury. They checked into high-end hotels, drove in plush vehicles, and dined at opulent restaurants. They also wired considerable amounts to their close relations. Funds allocation records show Brandon Austin having sent $50,000 to his children’s mother and $32,000 to his girlfriend. Simultaneously, Hugh Austin transferred $10,000 each to his father and partner.
In a further twist to their tale, the father-son duo reportedly hosted extravagant trips to places like New York, Miami, and Europe, inviting their investors as special guests. These glittering events, however, were later revealed to be a smokescreen to attract new victims for their fraudulent operation.
Investors’ Desperation and the Accused’s Audacity
Investors bore different losses, with one losing over half a million dollars. The investors’ frustration led them to confront Hugh Austin and demand their promised returns. In a calm response, Hugh Austin merely assured an investor of a call back after 25 minutes.
Having pleaded guilty, Brandon Austin has agreed to relinquish $3.4 million and reimburse $2 million to the aggrieved parties. Law enforcement seized a 2022 E-Pace P250 Jaguar, valued at over $60,000, from the accused. The duo may face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for charges including money laundering and wire fraud. The court will determine Brandon’s penalty on September 6.
A Familiar Fraud Tale in the Cryptocurrency World
This case resembles one of the largest frauds in the history of cryptocurrency – the OneCoin Ponzi scheme. Orchestrated by Ruja Ignatova, famously known as “The Cryptoqueen”, the scheme spanned between 2014 and 2016 and defrauded investors of an estimated $4 billion.
In the ever-evolving realm of cryptocurrency, the Austin family’s fraud serves as a sobering reminder for investors to tread cautiously. It’s an unforgiving reminder that glitters of promised returns can often lead to dangerous pitfalls.