A Miami man accused of running a fraudulent cryptocurrency and stock investment scheme was arrested in Colorado. The arrest comes months after several people told NBC 6 Investigators they lost hundreds in the alleged scam.
Ryan Crawford, also known as “Brody,” described himself as a cryptocurrency entrepreneur claiming he was going to make people rich with his new crypto coin called “Cheetah.”
“We are about to take over the world,” Crawford can be heard saying in a video that was posted on Dec. 5, 2021.
But according to Alberto Rivera and four others who spoke to NBC 6 Investigators, Crawford was nothing but a scam artist who made them believe they were going to make money but they say his investments never paid off.
“I lost about $130,000,” Dorian Godfrey told NBC 6.
“I lost $75,000,” Humza Quadri said. “Half of it was my fund and the other half was my parents’ funds. So it was … it was quite heartbreaking and I still didn’t have the heart to tell my parents.”
According to the Department of Justice, posing as a highly successful licensed stockbroker, Crawford tricked people into investing “at least approximately U.S. $800,000 worth of cash and cryptocurrency” in his scheme but “did not return any victim funds, let alone generate the exponential returns he promised.”
Instead, federal prosecutors say, in some cases, “he simply diverted investors’ funds and cryptocurrency for his own personal use and the personal use of accomplices, including to pay for luxury rental cars and gambling at the casino.”
Local and federal law enforcement agencies launched an investigation into Crawford after receiving reports from alleged victims like Alberto Rivera who spoke to NBC 6 Investigators months ago.
Alberto said he also reported Crawford to the Miami-Dade Police Department and the FBI.
After a lengthy investigation, Crawford was arrested in Colorado, hit with eight counts of wire fraud, and is awaiting a federal trial.
NBC 6 couldn’t reach him for comment because he’s behind bars and we haven’t heard back from his attorney. In 2022, he texted NBC 6, “Never invest what you’re not willing to lose … I built the most bad— trading platform and was going to launch it … and then I got accused of it being a Ponzi scheme and a few of my investors sold all their coins and took all the liquidity.”
“Well, I would call it disgusting. It’s theft. It’s very, very evil,” Dorian said.
Aside from the criminal case, Crawford lost two civil suits for paying investors with bogus checks but despite the default judgments, the investors haven’t gotten their money back yet.
Silka Gonzalez is the president of Enterprise Risk Management.
“When they’re getting into crypto you know, I think the most important thing for people is to be educated,” Gonzalez said.
Last year, using the same software law enforcement uses, her cybersecurity experts were able to track the cryptocurrency sent to Crawford’s account and show it was transferred to an offshore crypto exchange where the U.S. has no jurisdiction.
Alberto says there’s a very small chance he will recover his money, but he feels good about Crawford’s arrest.
“The biggest (reason) why it makes me feel good is because at least I know that he’s not going to be victimizing anyone else,” Alberto said.
If Crawford is found guilty, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison for each charge.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)