Ex-NYSE Broker Pleads Guilty to Orchestrating $33M Crypto Scam

As chief trading officer of the investment club Q3, Michael Ackerman falsely touted monthly returns of over 15%.

Sep 8, 2021 at 5:12 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 8, 2021 at 6:05 p.m. UTC

James Rubin is CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.

Michael Ackerman, a former New York Stock Exchange broker, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wire fraud for orchestrating a multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency investment scam, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced.

  • Ackerman, who was the chief trading officer at the investment club Q3, admitted that he had caused the victims of the scam to lose over $30 million.
  • Q3 told hundreds of investors it used a proprietary algorithm that guaranteed returns trading cryptocurrencies.
  • The 52-year-old Ackerman raised “millions of dollar in investments,” according to U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, by “falsely touting monthly returns of over 15%, falsifying documents to con investors into thinking his fund had a balance of over $315 million and spending millions in investor funds on himself.”
  • Ackerman stole at least $9 million from Q3 between 2018 and 2019, most of which was spent on jewelry, cars, personal security and travel, according to the U.S. Attorney’s announcement.
  • As part of his plea agreement, Ackerman will make restitution of at least $30.6 million and forfeit more than $36 million, including millions in cash, real estate and jewelry that he acquired illegally. He will face sentencing on Jan. 5, 2022.

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James Rubin is CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.

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James Rubin is CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.

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