Former Deutsche Bank Executive Pleads Guilty to Investment Fraud in ‘R3 Crypto Fund’ Scam
Rashawn Russell, a former investment banker at Deutsche Bank, has entered a guilty plea in connection with a fraudulent cryptocurrency trading scheme known as the “R3 Crypto Fund.” Russell now faces the possibility of a maximum 30-year prison sentence.
According to a statement released by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 19, Russell, aged 27, admitted to his involvement in the scheme. Between November 2020 and August 2022, he duped 29 investors out of $1.5 million. Russell exploited his background as an investment banker and licensed financial broker to promise investors guaranteed, high returns on various cryptocurrency investments.
The DOJ’s investigation revealed that Russell repeatedly deceived investors about the performance of their investments and fabricated multiple documents containing false information about their returns. Among his fraudulent actions, Russell sent manipulated images of his bank balance to investors. In another instance, when an investor requested the withdrawal of funds from a crypto investment, Russell failed to transfer the money and instead sent a fabricated confirmation of a money transfer.
Shockingly, most of the $1.5 million collected from victims never found its way into actual cryptocurrency assets. Instead, Russell misappropriated the funds for personal gain, gambling, and repaying earlier investors in the fraudulent scheme.
In addition to the cryptocurrency investment scam, Russell has also pleaded guilty to participating in a separate identity theft scheme. He fraudulently obtained credit cards and other devices using falsified information, intending to employ these documents for illegal and unauthorized transactions.
Upon his sentencing, Rashawn Russell potentially faces a prison term of up to 30 years for his crimes. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara has ordered him to pay restitution exceeding $1.5 million to the victims of his fraudulent activities.