UK Man Ordered to Pay More Than $571M for Fraudulent Bitcoin Trading Scheme: CFTC

The man solicited at least 22,190.542 bitcoin, valued at about $143 million at the time, from more than 1,000 customers worldwide.

Mar 26, 2021 at 9:21 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:32 p.m. UTC

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a default judgment against a U.K. man for operating a fraudulent scheme to solicit bitcoin from members of the public and misappropriating that bitcoin, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said in a release.

  • According to the court's March 2 order, Benjamin Reynolds, purportedly of Manchester, England, was  ordered to pay nearly $143 million in restitution to defrauded customers and a civil monetary penalty of $429 million, the CFTC said.
  • Reynolds has also been barred from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, registering with the CFTC and trading in any CFTC-regulated markets.
  • Between May 2017 and October 2017, Reynolds used a website, social media accounts and email to solicit at least 22,190.542 bitcoin, valued at about $143 million at the time, from more than 1,000 customers worldwide, including at least 169 individuals living in the U.S., according to the release. 
  • Among other things, Reynolds falsely represented that his company traded customer bitcoin deposits in virtual currency markets and employed specialized virtual currency traders who generated guaranteed trading profits.
  • The judgment is the result of a 2019 enforcement action brought by the CFTC.

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