Ex-Deutsche Bank Analyst Faces Up to 30 Years in Prison for Crypto Fraud

A registered broker and former investment banker with financial giant Deutsche Bank has pleaded guilty to defrauding investors into a fraudulent crypto fund. He is facing up to 30 years in prison and will be required to pay restitution of more than $1.5 million, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Ex-Deutsche Bank Investment Banker Pleads Guilty

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday that Rashawn Russell has pleaded guilty to “participating in a scheme to defraud clients of the R3 Crypto Fund,” a fraudulent cryptocurrency investment fund that he operated. Russell, who was formerly an investment banker and registered broker with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), was charged in April.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York explained:

When sentenced, Russell faces up to 30 years in prison. As part of his plea agreement, Russell will be required to pay restitution in the amount of more than $1.5 million.

“Russell leveraged investor interest in cryptocurrency markets to perpetrate a scheme to defraud clients who trusted him,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace stated.

While the DOJ announcement did not specify which investment bank Russell worked for, FINRA’s broker records show that he was registered with Deutsche Bank Securities. According to his Linkedin profile, he became a Deutsche Bank investment banking analyst in July 2018 and was promoted to associate in July 2020.

From November 2020 to August 2022, Russell engaged in a scheme to defraud investors into his R3 Crypto Fund, the DOJ detailed, adding that he falsely promised investors that he would use their funds to “make cryptocurrency investments that would return large, and sometimes guaranteed, returns.” However, the Justice Department explained:

In truth, much of the investors’ assets were misappropriated by Russell and used for his personal benefit, to gamble, and to repay earlier investors.

“Through Russell’s scheme, at least 29 investors lost at least $1.5 million,” the DOJ said. Russell also pleaded guilty for his role in a separate identity theft scheme in which he “fraudulently obtained credit cards and other access devices in the names of third parties,” the Justice Department noted.

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