Serbian man involved in $70M digital currency scam extradited to US

A Serbian man has been extradited to the U.S to face the court in connection with his alleged role in a $70 million digital currency scam. Antonije Stojilkovic is alleged to have been part of a crime ring that created several bogus investment platforms that lured investors with promises of huge profits.

Serbian police arrested the man on July 24, 2020, in Belgrade. He consented to the extradition and on February 4, the FBI extradited him from Serbia to Texas, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

The Northern District of Texas indicted Stojilkovic and more than a dozen other co-conspirators on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in July last year. Serbian police arrested six other alleged criminals related to the scam last year. One U.S.-based co-conspirator Haojia Miao was arrested in California in October.

According to the indictment, Stojilkovic and the other alleged scammers created over 20 fraudulent trading platforms. They included Options Rider, Dragon Mining, Trinity Mining and Bancde Options. They then targeted investors for their binary options and digital currency block reward mining investment options.

Working from their homes in China, Serbia and California, the suspects allegedly marketed their platforms online to unsuspecting investors. They billed their platform as “the world’s market leader in binary options,” according to the justice department. They boasted of having an average payout of 80% and pledged to refund 20% of all funds lost on any trade.

“On the cryptocurrency mining platforms, meanwhile, they claimed investors could ‘purchase bitcoin at half market price!!’ due to a 24-7 mining at facilities worldwide,” the DoJ stated.

Once the investors sent them money, they would provide login credentials to fake platforms they controlled. These platforms showed investors that their assets were skyrocketing. The scammers allegedly fabricated the “trading activity, withdrawal history and wire receipts.”

FBI Special Agent Matthew DeSarno said, “Mr. Stojilkovic and his partners are charged with executing a global con that allegedly bilked investors out of millions of dollars. The FBI is uniquely equipped to work with our offices and law enforcement partners worldwide to investigate and dismantle these elaborate schemes. Whether investing with cash or virtual currency, investors should exercise due diligence and report suspicious activity to the authorities.”

If convicted of his crime, Stojilkovic stands to spend up to 20 years in federal prison.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups-from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, BlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbase, Ripple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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