18 May

In a Brooklyn federal court session on Thursday, Thomas John Sfraga, who is known by his crypto alias "TJ Stone," entered a plea of guilty to wire fraud charges. Sfraga admitted to defrauding over a dozen victims, amassing a total of more than $1.3 million through his illicit activities.

Exposure of a Fake Scheme

The US Department of Justice claims that between 2019 and 2022, Sfraga "falsely" represented himself as the owner and principal of multiple companies, such as Build Strong Homes LLC and Vandelay Contracting Corp. Additionally, he claimed to be a "serial entrepreneur" with expertise in podcasting, cryptocurrency, media relations, and real estate development.

In this role, Sfraga is said to have persuaded clients—many of whom were from Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island—to lend him money or participate in schemes that later proved to be scams.

US Attorney Breon Peace said: "This includes promising huge returns of up to 60% within three months for investments in a bogus bitcoin "virtual wallet."

Sfraga shamelessly deceived friends, neighbors, and investors for years in order to embezzle more than $1.3 million of their hard-earned life savings. In the Eastern District of New York and around the country, this Office will keep prosecuting fraudsters and securing justice for their victims.

Cybercriminal Could Serve 20 Years in Prison

Sfraga allegedly persuaded a victim to give him $100,000 in cash on one occasion in order to cover the start-up charges for a large construction project that was "non-existent." Actually, according to the US DOJ, Sfraga just used the money intended for his expenses to settle debts with former clients and business partners.

In front of Chief United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom, Sfraga entered a guilty plea to the wire fraud counts. He could get a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and be required to pay nearly $1.33 million in reparations to his victims.

US Attorney Breon Peace and James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, announced the guilty plea.

May 2024, Cryptoniteuae

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