A Serbian national has been extradited to the United States to face charges of defrauding investors out of more than $70 million through a cryptocurrency mining and binary options scam. Antonije Stojilkovic, 32, and six accomplices, who were all arrested between July and October 2020, faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Stojilkovic was nabbed in his home country after the country submitted a “provisional arrest request on July 24, 2020. The statement adds that his removal “from Serbia to the Northern District of Texas” was completed on On Feb. 4, 2021.
Alongside his six coconspirators, Stojilkovic is accused of targeting “investors around the globe – including several in north Texas – soliciting ‘investments’ in binary options and cryptocurrency mining.” The DOJ says the defendants, who used their home bases in China and Serbia, orchestrated the scam through “more than 20 fraudulent investing platforms and “concocted profiles.”
Further, as the DOJ statement explains, Stojilkovic and the co-conspirators would project “their binary options platforms as the world’s market leader in binary options.” The accused also claimed to be “the world’s market leader” in binary options with “an average payout of 80 percent, and promised 20 percent refunds on every lost trade.”
Concerning the cryptocurrency mining side of the scam, the DOJ says:
On the cryptocurrency mining platforms, meanwhile, they claimed investors could ‘purchase bitcoin at the half market price’ due to a ’24-7 mining’ at facilities ‘worldwide.’
No Trading Occurred
Meanwhile, in an effort to sell the scam to unsuspecting investors, Stojilkovic and his co-defendants “fabricated trading activity, withdrawal history, and wire receipts.” However, the investigators still found that “no actual trading had occurred.” Instead, investor funds were “used to cover defendants’ personal expenses, to pay commissions, and to further the scheme.”
In the meantime, U.S. officials say Stojilkovic’s arrest and extradition demonstrate law enforcement’s ability to “investigate and dismantle these elaborate schemes.”
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