Two Charged With Duping Investors Out of $5M With Bogus Bitcoin-Buying Brokerage

The pair allegedly left victim's funds in an escrow service that was actually their money-laundering front.

AccessTimeIconSep 14, 2020 at 8:26 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:55 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

New York federal prosecutors charged two men with running a phony bitcoin brokerage service that duped victims of $5 million.

  • As alleged in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday, former fugitive Randy Craig Levine and disbarred attorney Philip Reichenthal never bought their two high-rolling investors any bitcoin despite promising to do so.
  • One victim, an unnamed "purported cryptocurrency escrow firm," wired Levine $3 million to fund an over-the-counter desk's bitcoin buy, according to prosecutors, who said the second victim, a Florida bitcoin investor, wired Levine $2 million.
  • Levine allegedly told the victims their funds were moved into an "escrow" service and then stopped responding to the victims' questions.
  • But Levine's escrow was actually Reichenthal's money-laundering front, prosecutors allege. They claim Reichenthal wired millions to Russian, Mexican and Guatemalan bank accounts controlled by Levine aliases.
  • Levine and Reichenthal allegedly pocketed the money, giving their victims no refunds or bitcoin.
  • The pair face allegations of wire fraud, money laundering and commodities fraud in New York federal district court.
  • Levine is currently awaiting extradition from Austria; he's been on the run from U.S. authorities since 2005. Reichenthal was disbarred last October in a Florida court.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about