The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is pressing charges against a Solana (SOL) non-fungible token (NFT) developer who allegedly pulled the rug on investors.
According to a new press release, the DOJ is charging Vietnamese national Le Anh Tuan with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit international wire fraud in connection with the Baller Ape Club, an NFT investing community.
“Shortly after the first day Baller Ape Club NFTs were publicly sold, Tuan and his co-conspirators engaged in what is known as a ‘rug pull,’ ending the purported investment project, deleting its website, and stealing the investors’ money.”
Tuan and his collaborators allegedly stole about $2.6 million from traders before attempting to launder the funds by converting them to different crypto assets across multiple blockchains and using decentralized exchange swap services to mask their tracks.
“Based on blockchain analytics, shortly after the rug pull, Tuan and his co-conspirators laundered investors’ funds through ‘chain-hopping,’ a form of money laundering in which one type of coin is converted to another type and funds are moved across multiple cryptocurrency blockchains, and used decentralized cryptocurrency swap services to obscure the trail of Baller Ape investors’ stolen funds.
In total, Tuan and his co-conspirators obtained approximately $2.6 million from investors.”
According to the DOJ, this is the largest known NFT scheme charged to date. If convicted, Tuan faces a maximum penalty of up to 40 years in prison.
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