Jay Mazini had attracted one million followers by posting videos showing him handing out large amounts of cash as gifts.
An Instagram influencer is facing charges of wire fraud amid accusations that he swindled his followers out of Bitcoin worth $2.5 million.
Jay Mazini, whose real name is Jegara Igbara, had attracted one million followers by posting videos that showed himself handing out large amounts of cash as gifts.
But the U.S. Department of Justice claimed there was another side to Mazini’s online activities. Investigators claim that he would often offer to buy Bitcoin from his followers at inflated prices because traditional exchanges were limiting his purchases. Victims reportedly sent the cryptocurrency and ended up receiving documents confirming a wire transfer had taken place, but the money would never reach their account.
William Sweeney, from the FBI, said:
“As we allege, Igbara’s social media persona served as a backdrop for enticing victims to sell him their Bitcoin at attractive, but inflated, values. A behind-the-scenes look, however, revealed things aren’t always as they seem. There was nothing philanthropic about the Bitcoin transactions Igbara engaged in with his victims. A quick search of the Interwebs today will reveal an entirely different image of this multimillion-dollar scammer.”
U.S. officials have used the incident to urge consumers to continually be on their guard for cryptocurrency scams — and anyone who may have fallen victim is being urged to come forward.
The Instagram account belonging to Jay Mazini has now been taken down. If convicted, the 25-year-old could face up to 20 years in prison.