Two Defendants Charged In NFT Money Laundering, ‘Rug Pull’ Scheme

    Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that  Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna were charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in connection with a million-dollar scheme to defraud purchasers of NFTs advertised as “Frosties.” 

    Rather than providing the benefits advertised to Frosties NFT purchasers, Nguyen and Llacuna transferred the cryptocurrency proceeds of the scheme to various cryptocurrency wallets under their control. 

    Prior to their arrests in Los Angeles, California, Nguyen and Llacuna were preparing to launch the sale of a second set of NFTs advertised as “Embers,” which was anticipated to generate approximately $1.5 million in cryptocurrency proceeds.

    Damian Williams

    “Mr. Nguyen and Mr. Llacuna promised investors the benefits of the Frosties NFTs, but when it sold out, they pulled the rug out from under the victims, almost immediately shutting down the website and transferring the money,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a press release.

    Added Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent Ricky J. Patel:

    Ricky J. Patel, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent

    “The arrested thieves allegedly hid behind online identities where they promised investors rewards, giveaways, and exclusive opportunities before implementing their ‘rug pull’ scheme – leaving investors with empty pockets and no legitimate investment. HSI New York’s Dark Web & Cryptocurrency Task Force worked closely with our IRS-CI partners to identify and shut down these fraudsters as they prepared to launch the sale of yet another NFT project that would have likely scammed countless others.”

    Stay tuned to Blockchain Daily for updates.

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