Aussie Wunderkind Sentenced to 7 Years for Crypto Ponzi Scheme

September 17, 2021, 1:45 PM AEST - 1 month ago

Stefan He Qin, the Australian man who pleaded guilty to securities fraud totalling more than US$50 million, has been sentenced in a New York District Court to seven and a half years in prison.

On September 15, the 24-year-old from Canberra who cheated investors in his cryptocurrency fund told the sentencing judge he was “absolutely heartbroken” about the pain and suffering he had caused his victims.

I feel ashamed to even look them in the eye and tell them I am sorry, but I must … I know now that the world is not a video game. I deserve the punishment that [I have received] today. I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for the pain I’ve caused. I am so, so, so sorry.

Stefan He Qin

No Sympathy From Sentencing Judge

From 2017 to 2020, Qin operated a brazen and wide-ranging Ponzi scheme that took US$54 million out of the pockets of investors. Qin, a University of NSW dropout, admitted he carried out his scheme while he owned and controlled two Manhattan-based cryptocurrency investment funds.

As the owner of Virgil Capital LLC, Qin attempted to funnel money from his second company, VQR Multistrategy, to pay investors of the Virgil Sigma Fund. After years of reckless spending – including the purchase of a Manhattan penthouse apartment – and risky investment, much of the money was gone.

Sentencing judge Valerie Caproni had no sympathy for Qin.

If he’s charming me the way he charmed his victims, he’s a real danger because he thinks his needs are more important than everyone else’s.

Judge Valerie Caproni

Quin pleaded guilty in February and was ordered to forfeit US$54.7 million.

Crypto Scams on the Rise During Pandemic

Fraudsters all over the world are taking advantage of the ongoing uncertainty that the pandemic has brought and financial scams are on the rise.

One cannot help but see the similarity of this case to the Mirror Trading International (MTI) scam perpetrated by South African Johann Steynberg.

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