Nevada Man Charged in $45 Million Metaverse Scam Promising Trillion-Dollar Returns
Federal prosecutors have unveiled new allegations against a Las Vegas resident, Bryan Lee, in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme that deceived over 10,000 investors out of more than $45 million. Lee, a 57-year-old individual, has been named in a superseding indictment related to his involvement in the CoinDeal scam. The charges against Lee include conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and criminal monetary transactions. This development follows previous indictments dating back to June of the previous year.
According to federal prosecutors, Lee collaborated with three others to dupe investors into believing that CoinDeal was a legitimate collection of businesses focused on developing virtual reality products. The perpetrators also claimed to be in negotiations with a group of wealthy buyers for the project. Investors were told that their funds were necessary to cover operational expenses until the sale of CoinDeal, with Lee and his cohorts promising substantial returns. However, in reality, the alleged fraudsters squandered the money on extravagant purchases, such as luxury cars and real estate.
The superseding indictment reveals that the conspirators falsely used the names of two billionaires to endorse their scheme. Although not explicitly identified in the indictment, the descriptions match those of Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive chairman of Amazon, and Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. These individuals, however, had no involvement in the fraudulent activities.
Neil Chandran, who portrayed himself as the owner of the conglomerate, directed Lee’s actions. Lee worked alongside Michael Glaspie, a Florida resident involved in collecting funds from investors. While Lee was not mentioned in a previous complaint filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January, Chandran and Glaspie faced charges related to the unregistered offer and sale of securities in the CoinDeal investment scheme. Additionally, another unnamed co-conspirator, referred to as Individual-1, was charged with money laundering for Chandran, matching the description of a Nevada man named Garry Davidson, according to the SEC.
Chandran, a repeat offender of securities laws and a convicted felon, was arrested and charged in June 2022, while Glaspie pleaded guilty to wire fraud in February. The SEC complaint highlights how Chandran and his accomplices predominantly targeted inexperienced investors, falsely claiming that their technology would fetch trillions of dollars from a consortium of billionaire backers.
The ongoing investigation and legal actions underscore the authorities’ commitment to combatting financial fraud in the rapidly evolving metaverse industry.