- AML Bitcoin marketer Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud charges
- Abramoff admits he knew it was a scam and lied to investors
- The project raised $5.6 million through an ICO in 2017, but the SEC collared Abramoff and project head Marcus Andrade at the end of June
AML Bitcoin marketer and disgraced government lobbyist Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud charges relating to the ICO for the project which defrauded investors to the tune of $5.6 million. Abramoff and project head Marcus Andrade were indicted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June over the ICO, who claimed that the project was nothing more than a cash grab with no product ever produced.
AML Bitcoin Revealed to be Pack of Lies
Abramoff has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud and to defrauding investors during his time as chief marketer in the AML Bitcoin scam, in which role he sold the project to potential investors with a series of false claims. These included a claim that an AML Bitcoin advert had been rejected from the Super Bowl half-time slot due to being “too controversial”.
When Abramoff’s charges were laid out by the SEC two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that he was likely to plead guilty, which he now has. Despite entering a guilty plea, Abramoff still faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 penalty. The potential for a jail term is made all the more likely thanks to his previous conviction in 2005 for overcharging lobbying clients millions of dollars and using the funds to make illegal political donations. Abramoff was released in 2010 for that crime and joined the AML Bitcoin project in 2017.
Abramoff Admits That Partnerships Were Bogus
AML Bitcoin was marketed as a Bitcoin alternative that was compliant with anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) regulations. It was, the company said, about to be adopted by governments and public agencies, but Abramoff in the plea filing that this was a lie:
During my involvement with AML Bitcoin and Marcus Andrade I became aware that certain information…about the development and financial condition of the…AML Bitcoin project was not accurate. For example, I became aware that Marcus Andrade had inappropriately taken approximately $1 million from the project, which was hindering its development, and that certain foreign governments and public agencies were not as close to adopting AML Bitcoin as Marcus Andrade and others told me and stated publicly.
Abramoff also admits his part in the SuperBowl advert falsehood was and the reasons for it:
I agree that no later than January 2018, I entered an understanding with Marcus Andrade and others, and as part of that understanding I drafted and helped disseminate information regarding AML Bitcoin, including falsely stating that NBC and the NFL rejected AML Bitcoin’s Super Bowl advertisement when neither entity had finally rejected the advertisement. I understand that this false and misleading statement was made as part of a conspiracy, a purpose of which was to raise funds through the sale of AML Bitcoin tokens through false and misleading statements to the public and prospective purchasers of AML Bitcoin tokens.
Andrade was indicted last month on money laundering and wire fraud charges relating to the AML Bitcoin scam and has yet to enter a plea, although he is understood to want to fight the charges. No doubt Abramoff’s plea filing will now form a central part of the SEC’s case against him.