Bitcoin Escrow Chief Pleads Guilty to Crypto Fraud, Also Ordered to Repay $7.4M

The head of the Volantis escrow company faces up to 10 years in prison for defrauding customers.

Oct 2, 2020 at 3:38 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:03 a.m. UTC

The head of bitcoin escrow company Volantis pleaded guilty in New York on Thursday to bilking an investor of over $3 million. He also settled parallel commodities fraud charges.

Jon Barry Thompson, 49, admitted in Manhattan federal district court that his crypto companies – Volantis Market Making LCC and Volantis Escrow Platform LLC – never followed through with a promised $3.25 million bitcoin buy for one unnamed customer in the summer of 2018.

  • Thompson admitted to misrepresenting his companies' bitcoin custody, control, purchasing practices and risk exposure in order to secure the customer's funds.
  • He then wired the cash to a third party without first receiving the bitcoin, as he had promised the customer he would.
  • But the bitcoin never materialized and the customer's funds were never returned.
  • Thompson could face a maximum 10-year prison term. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2021.

Thompson also settled charges brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Thursday. A newly filed consent order requires him to pay $7.4 million in restitution to two victims, permanently bars him from bitcoin trading, and compels him to cooperate with the CFTC in any future investigations.

  • Thompson's pledge to cooperate may pay immediate dividends.
  • In mid-September, SDNY prosecutors filed charges against two individuals who allegedly defrauded $3 million from the "principal" of Volantis bitcoin escrow in June 2018.

Read more about
The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

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 a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
Circle Asks US Fed Not to Step on Its Toes by Launching a Digital Dollar

The public is already served well by private-sector tokens, the USDC stablecoin issuer said in a comment letter to the central bank.

The public is already served well by private-sector tokens, the USDC stablecoin issuer said in a comment letter to the central bank.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Crypto News Roundup for May 25, 2022

With bitcoin seemingly unable to break above the $30,000 threshold, plus a look at the suspects in the cast of the UST collapse, CoinDesk’s "Markets Daily" is back with the latest news roundup.

With bitcoin seemingly unable to break above the $30,000 threshold, plus a look at the suspects in the cast of the UST collapse, CoinDesk’s "Markets Daily" is back with the latest news roundup.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
ApeCoin

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Proof-of-Work vs. Proof-of-Stake: What Is the Difference?

Proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS) are two different methods to validate cryptocurrency transactions.

Proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS) are two different methods to validate cryptocurrency transactions.

CoinDesk - Unknown