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.