A former investment banker from Deutsche Bank, Rashawn Russell, has pleaded guilty to charges of misappropriating funds from investors through promises of higher returns from cryptocurrency trading, as confirmed by the U.S. Justice Department.
Russell now faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced.
The Justice Department also revealed that he will be required to pay restitution totaling more than $1.5 million.
Russel Defrauded Investors in a Fake Crypto Trading Scheme
United States Attorney Breon Peace said that Russell leveraged investor interest in cryptocurrency markets to perpetrate a scheme and defraud clients who trusted him.
Rashawn Russell’s professional journey in the financial sector began in July 2018 and continued until November 2021, during which he worked at an unnamed financial institution.
His LinkedIn profile indicated that he joined Deutsche Bank as an investment banking analyst in July 2018 and was subsequently promoted to associate in July 2020.
Russell managed to lure prospective investors with claims of being a licensed broker with a background in investment banking.
He promised them substantial and, at times, guaranteed returns from his purported cryptocurrency fund called R3. However, it appears that Russell’s actions were far from trustworthy.
Prosecutors have revealed that while Russell did transfer some of the invested funds into a trading account, he siphoned off the rest.
To cover his tracks, he went as far as sending fabricated documentation to investors, falsely portraying the performance of their investments.
Shockingly, Russell solicited investments not only from acquaintances but also from friends and colleagues, betraying their trust by diverting the funds towards personal expenses and even gambling.
U.S Intensifies Crackdown on Crypto
This case comes against the backdrop of an ongoing crackdown on fraudulent activities related to digital assets by U.S. prosecutors and regulators.
Back in April, when Rashawn Russell was initially charged, Deutsche Bank responded by emphasizing its commitment to supporting law enforcement and regulatory oversight efforts.
The bank affirmed its willingness to cooperate with authorized investigations and proceedings, while refraining from commenting on the ongoing legal matter.