A fraudster who used a phony digital coin to con investors out of $600 million by convincing them they were helping to promote world peace has been jailed by a New York court.
Asa Saint Clair, 50, of Washington state, hoodwinked at least 60 victims into putting their cash and hopes in IGObit, a bogus cryptocurrency that he claimed would bring them guaranteed returns on their investment.
Worse still, Saint Clair claimed IGObit was affiliated with the United Nations and falsely claimed his organization the World Sports Alliance aimed to promote sports and peace in poorer countries. In fact no such link with the UN existed, and the so-called alliance had no altruistic mandate to help the less fortunate.
Saint Clair, who also went by “Asa Williams” and “Asa Sinclair,” was convicted of wire fraud in March by a federal court in the southern district of New York, which yesterday handed him a 42-month sentence plus three years of supervised release.
US Attorney Damian Williams said Saint Clair played on victims’ “desire to invest in a better world while also getting a guaranteed financial return.”
He added: “Saint Clair promised his victims all this and more if they invested in IGObit, a digital currency he claimed the World Sports Alliance was developing in support of its work with the UN to promote sports and peace in developing countries. These promises were false, and Saint Clair’s victims lost the entirety of their hard-earned money. Today’s sentence holds Saint Clair accountable for brazenly lying to investors while lining his own pockets.”
Saint Clair reportedly spent his ill-gotten gains on fancy meals in Manhattan restaurants, travel and leisure, and online shopping sprees, as well as diverting investments into personal accounts controlled by him and his family members.
In the long run, his crime has not paid: as well as having to reimburse the investors all the money he stole, Saint Clair also faces restitution payments of a like amount - leaving him with a $600,000 debt to look forward to when he is freed from prison.
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