Man behind $7M crypto fraud expected to plead guilty

Prosecutors believe that Jon Barry Thompson, owner of Volantis Market Making, will plead guilty to charges against him this September

Suspect in handcuffs
Thompson allegedly misappropriated $7 million from two clients, who had entrusted their money to him for the purchase of Bitcoin

Jon Barry Thompson previously made headlines in 2019 when he was arrested in July and charged with two counts each for commodities fraud and wire fraud.

He has since been set free on a $500,000 bond; however, he is now expected to enter a guilty plea, with prosecutors looking at finalising the proceedings by September.

In a letter submitted to the court, the prosecution announced that both parties “expect to reach a disposition of this matter and respectfully request that the court set a control date in September 2020 for the entry of that disposition.”

On Monday, Thompson was indicted on four counts of fraud for providing cryptocurrency escrow services through Volantis Market Making, a firm he owns. He was accused of defrauding $7 million from two clients. The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed separate civil charges.

Prosecutors believe that Thompson received $3 million so that he could purchase Bitcoin on behalf of a company during June and July of 2018. He then proceeded to funnel these funds to a third party entity without first receiving any Bitcoin, which led to the apparent loss of the funds.

After he allegedly lied to the firm about the status of the transaction, Thompson managed to convince a second firm to send $4 million to purchase cryptocurrency. This also led to a significant portion of the funds being sent to a third party without the client receiving any of the Bitcoin they requested.

Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney, explained in a news release that Thompson “repeatedly lied to investors in cryptocurrencies about the safety of their investments made through his companies. As a result of Thompson’s lies, investors lost millions of dollars.”

Thompson is looking at two counts of commodities fraud, each carrying up to ten years of imprisonment, and two counts of wire fraud — each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Thompson’s company, Volantis, is also facing civil charges that were filed through the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). In addition, Thompson himself is facing another lawsuit from the Irish firm Symphony.

According to a report from Forbes, Symphony gave Thompson €3.6 million for the purposes of purchasing Bitcoin for the company. However, Symphony never received its Bitcoin and the company’s money was never returned. Later on, the plaintiff withdrew their complaint and reached a private settlement with Thompson. Thompson then breached their agreement by failing to make the first settlement payment.

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