FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 19, 2023
Man Charged for Alleged Participation in $45M CoinDeal Investment Fraud Scheme Involving Over 10,000 Victims
A Nevada man has been charged for his alleged participation in CoinDeal, an investment fraud scheme that defrauded more than 10,000 victims of over $45 million.
Bryan Lee, 57, of Las Vegas, will make his initial appearance in federal court today in Las Vegas.
According to court documents, Lee allegedly conspired with Neil Chandran and others to defraud investors in companies that Chandran controlled. The companies operated under the banner of “ViRSE,” and included Free Vi Lab, Studio Vi Inc., ViDelivery Inc., ViMarket Inc., and Skalex USA Inc., among others. The companies were supposedly developing virtual-world technologies, including their own cryptocurrency, for use in a metaverse. Chandran allegedly misled investors by falsely promising extremely high returns on the premise that his companies were about to be acquired by a consortium of wealthy buyers. As further alleged, Lee was the nominee owner and director of ViMarket, and took direction from Chandran for how to disburse investor funds received into ViMarket’s bank accounts. Lee and Chandran allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars of investor funds and spent it on luxury cars and real estate.
Lee is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property. If convicted, Lee faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy counts, and up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.
Chandran was arrested in June 2022 and charged for his alleged role in the scheme. Michael Glaspie, who fraudulently marketed the investment with Chandran’s companies under the name “CoinDeal,” pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in February 2023 and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Steven A. Russell for the District of Nebraska, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI Washington Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Washington Field Office is investigating the case with significant assistance provided by the FBI Las Vegas and Omaha Field Offices.
Assistant Chief William E. Johnston and Trial Attorney Tian Huang of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Kleine for the District of Nebraska are prosecuting the case. Senior Policy Advisor Darrin McCullough of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section is handling forfeiture.
All investor victims of this fraud are encouraged to visit the webpage www.justice.gov/criminal-vns/case/united-states-v-neil-chandran-united-states-v-michael-glaspie to identify themselves as potential victims and obtain more information on their rights as victims, including the opportunity to submit a victim impact statement.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Attachment(s): Download Superseding IndictmentTopic(s): CybercrimeFinancial FraudSecurities, Commodities, & Investment FraudComponent(s): Criminal DivisionCriminal – Criminal Fraud SectionCriminal – Money Laundering and Asset Recovery SectionFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)USAO – NebraskaPress Release Number: 23-579
Updated May 19, 2023Original Article