Two Estonian citizens have been arrested by the U.S Department of Justice for laundering fraud proceeds.
According to the DOJ, Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin ran a multi-layered scheme based on shell companies used to launder fraud proceeds. The 18-count indictment totals $575 million.
Potapenko and Turõgin set up fake equipment-rental contracts for a crypto mining service called HashFlare and led victims to invest in a fake crypto bank called Polybius Bank.
Hundreds of thousands of people fell victim to the schemes, court documents show.
HashFlare was active between 2015 and 2019, and allegedly resulted in proceeds worth $550 million.
The pyramid scheme involved 75 properties, six luxury vehicles and thousands of cryptocurrency mining machines.
Turõgin and Potapenko were arrested on Nov. 20 and charged with “conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 16 counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering,” according to the Justice Department.
If the duo is, convicted, it may face a 20-year prison sentence.