Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that defendant JEREMY SPENCE, a/k/a “Coin Signals,” was sentenced to 42 months in prison for defrauding more than 170 victims in connection with various cryptocurrency funds that he operated. SPENCE previously pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who imposed today’s sentence.
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and the Complaint, court filings, and statements made in court:
From November 2017 through April 2019, SPENCE solicited investors in various cryptocurrency investment pools that SPENCE had created and managed (the “Funds”). SPENCE solicited investments for several Funds, the largest and most active of which were the Coin Signals Bitmex Fund, a/k/a the “CS Mex Fund,” the Coin Signals Alternative Fund, a/k/a the “CS Alt Fund,” and the Coin Signals Long Term Fund. Investors who wanted to participate in a Fund would transfer cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, to SPENCE in order for SPENCE to invest it.
SPENCE solicited more than $5 million through false representations, including that SPENCE’s crypto trading had been extremely profitable when, in fact, SPENCE’s trading had been consistently unprofitable. For example, on January 28, 2018, SPENCE posted a message in an online chat group falsely claiming that his trading of investor funds over the past month had generated a return of more than 148%. As a result of this misrepresentation, investors transferred additional funds to SPENCE. In fact, over that same period of approximately one month, SPENCE’s trading resulted in net losses in the accounts in which he traded investor funds.
To forestall redemptions by investors, and to continue to raise money from investors to fund his scheme, SPENCE generated fictitious account balances, which he made available to investors online. Instead of accurately reporting the trading losses SPENCE was incurring, the account balances falsely indicated to investors that they were making money by investing with SPENCE. To hide his trading losses, SPENCE used new investor funds to pay back other investors in a Ponzi-like fashion. In total, SPENCE distributed cryptocurrency worth approximately $2 million to investors substantially from funds previously deposited by other investors.
* * *
In addition to his prison term, SPENCE, 25, of Bristol, Rhode Island, was sentenced to three years of supervised released and restitution in the amount of $2,847,743.00.
Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which brought a separate civil action.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine I. Magdo is in charge of the prosecution.