June 25, 2024

Last revised:

May 2, 2024 07:57 EDT | 3 min read

Multi-Million Dollar Crypto Ponzi Scheme Uncovered by the FBI in Las Vegas

Idin Dalpour, a New York resident, was apprehended by the FBI for conning investors out of $43 million in a elaborate Ponzi scheme involving a hospitality business in Las Vegas and a cryptocurrency trading operation.

Dalpour was formally charged on May 1 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and a New York court.

As per a press statement released by the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan, Dalpour allegedly enticed unwary investors by promising significant returns, masking a wide-ranging Ponzi scheme. The scheme targeted investors in the U.S. and overseas and took place from 2020 through to April 2024.

Using an organization under his control, Dalpour lured investments into non-existent business ventures, involving a Las Vegas-based hospitality operation and a cryptocurrency trading enterprise.

As tweeted by Inner City Press:

Uncovering Dalpour’s Deception

Dalpour attracted investors with enticing promises of high annual returns starting from 42%. Asserted insurance and escrow arrangements were used as pretenses to give false security about their investments.

Dalpour made use of phony contracts, manipulated bank statements, and fabricated email correspondences to deceive investors into thinking the ventures were viable.

Dalpour, in conjunction with his fake Las Vegas hospitality venture, falsely claimed that his “organization” had established contracts with a Management Company and a well-known Las Vegas hotel. Proceeds from fictitious entertainment packages, supposedly for the hotel and multiple Las Vegas-based sports stadiums, were then feigned.

Under the guise of a cryptocurrency trading enterprise, Dalpour misrepresented his crypto trading practices, claiming to purchase crypto at wholesale prices and then purportedly selling it to retail investors at a handsome profit.

The reality was that investor funds were misdirected to serve earlier investor payouts, with Dalpour pocketing the balance. In total, he amassed over $43 million, which he expended on personal expenses including approximately $1.7 million in gambling losses, purchases from Art Direct of over $400,000, and his children’s private school tuition.

The plot collapsed in November 2023 when a group of victims confronted Dalpour about his fraudulent ventures, doctored documents, and misappropriated funds, to which he confessed.

Combatting Crypto Ponzi Schemes

With the increased acceptance of cryptocurrency, it has become a common feature in scam activities, organized crime, and money laundering operations.

Dalpour’s arrest represents just one of a series of busts related to cryptocurrency-based Ponzi schemes by US authorities in recent times.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took legal action against 17 individuals implicated in a suspected $300 million Ponzi scheme operating under the alias CryptoFX, a cryptocurrency trading platform, on March 15.

In another case, a New York jury found two individuals guilty for their roles in promoting the now-defunct fraudulent crypto mining and trading operation known as IcomTech on March 18.

Highlighting the extent of these activities, just recently, on April 4, Irina Dilkinska, ex-head of legal and compliance for the OneCoin scam, got a four-year prison sentence after admitting to her involvement in laundering many millions of dollars.

Representing Dalpour’s case, FBI Assistant Director James Smith stated:

“This arrest illustrates the FBI’s commitment to maintaining financial justice and ensuring the actions of one individual do not cause harm to others.”