The FBI and federal prosecutors are accusing a New Albany man of passing himself off as an expert cryptocurrency trader while defrauding investors of at least $10 million.
Authorities arrested Rathnakishore Giri, 27, on Nov. 18 after a grand jury indicted him on five counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He is set to be arraigned Dec. 2 in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
If convicted, Giri faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count.
The indictment alleges that beginning in August 2020, Giri misled investors to believe he was a highly successful specialist in trading bitcoin derivatives and falsely promised them that he would invest their money in cryptocurrency, make them a lot of money and repay their principal investment amount.
Giri solicited investments directly and through his two companies,NBD Eidetic Capital and SR Private Equity LLC, according to court documents.
Instead of putting all the investor funds into cryptocurrency, authorities allege Giri diverted some of the money to pay his own expenses or repay earlier investors — a hallmark of an unlawful Ponzi scheme, according to court documents.
Investors typically gave Giri between $2,000 and $300,000, but some individuals gave Giri more than $2 million to invest, according to court documents.
Giri repeatedly lost investors’ principal investments, and when they tried to cash out he would lie to them to delay their withdrawals, court documents state.
In June, 2021, court documents state Giri told an NBD employee in a text that “(investor)’s lawyer thinks this is a Ponzi scheme. Lol.” That investor had invested $800,000 with NBD, documents state.
Giri told one investor that their funds would be pooled with that of other investors, court documents state. When the investor asked for a breakdown of the pool, Giri admitted in a text to another individual that he created a fake spreadsheet of made-up names to give them, according to court documents. That investor was actually an undercover law enforcement agent.
If you believe you are a victim in this case, contact the U.S. Department of Justice Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or by email at email@example.com.