SAN DIEGO, CA — A Los Angeles man, Glenn Arcaro, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, in federal court for his participation in a massive conspiracy involving BitConnect, a cryptocurrency investment scheme, which defrauded investors from the United States and abroad of over $2 billion. The BitConnect scheme is believed to be the largest cryptocurrency fraud ever charged criminally.
As admitted in documents entered today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin, Arcaro conspired with others to exploit investor interest in cryptocurrency by fraudulently marketing BitConnect’s proprietary coin offering and digital currency exchange as a lucrative investment.
Arcaro further admitted that he and others conspired to mislead investors about BitConnect’s purported proprietary technology, known as the “BitConnect Trading Bot” and “Volatility Software,” as being able to generate substantial profits and guaranteed returns by using investors’ money to trade on the volatility of cryptocurrency exchange markets. In truth, BitConnect operated a textbook Ponzi scheme by paying earlier BitConnect investors with money from later investors.
It was through the use of social media, Arcaro acknowledged in his plea agreement, that he and others made materially false and misleading statements, while concealing material facts, all to persuade investors that BitConnect was a lucrative investment. During the scheme, Arcaro posted videos that mocked those who questioned whether BitConnect had a Trading Bot and Volatility Software, doubted the true identity of BitConnect’s owner, and complained about losing their money in BitConnect.
According to the documents filed, Arcaro sat atop a large network of promoters in North America, forming a pyramid scheme known as the BitConnect Referral Program. Arcaro earned as much as 15 percent of every investment into another part of the scheme—the BitConnect “Lending Program”—either from investors he recruited directly or those recruited by others beneath Arcaro in the pyramid. Arcaro further received portions of all investments from a concealed “slush” fund.
Arcaro admitted that he earned no less than $24 million from the BitConnect fraud conspiracy, all of which, according to court documents, he must repay to investors.