Father and Son Ran $10 Million Crypto Scam

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • A US Father and Son team has been arrested for running a crypto investment scam for three years
  • The scam saw the pair fraudulently take in $10 million, which they spent on the high life
  • Their victims ranged from individuals in foreign countries to a US investment firm

A father and son duo were recently arrested and charged with running a $10 million crypto scam between 2018 and 2021. Eugene ‘Hush’ Austin and his son Brandon Austin are suspected of engaging in a “fraudulent scheme to unlawfully obtain money from investors and other individuals,” according to the Department of Justice (DoJ). The pair face years in prison after promising investors in their fake crypto scheme high returns when in fact the pair were merely stealing the money.

Eugene Austin Stole Money from Friends

According to DOJ, the Austins ran a fake crypto investment scheme that saw them act as brokers, providing below-market exchange rates for the sale of large quantities of cryptocurrency. They falsely claimed to offer short-term investments in cryptocurrency that would yield exceptionally high returns as well as promising marketing and advertising services to small businesses, despite knowing they would not deliver on these commitments.

Eugene Austin also frequently approached friends and acquaintances, seeking personal loans under the guise of his cryptocurrency and investment ventures, making false promises to repay the lenders with interest.

In every case, the victims entrusted their money to Eugene and Brandon, only to lose their investments and loans. The Austins misappropriated the funds for personal expenses, including extravagant airline travel, luxurious hotel accommodations, fine dining experiences, and shopping sprees. They also made nominal payments to victims to prolong the scheme and maintain the appearance of legitimacy.

Their victims ranged in location from Japan to Georgia, even managing to con a California-based investment firm into sending $5 million over.

Brandon Pleads Guilty

Eugene Austin was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years; and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Brandon Austin has already pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which technically carries a maximum penalty of 20 years but his plea will see this reduced. As part of his guilty plea, Brandon agreed to forfeit $3,4 million and make restitution to the victims in the same amount. He will be sentenced in September.