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Bitcoin Laundering, ‘Gucci Goddess’ Army Swindle And Healthcare ‘Pump And Dump’ Scam: Financial Crime Weekly

A woman on trial for allegedly laundering billions of dollars of Bitcoin into cash told a London court on Friday that she was the victim of skillful manipulation by a “super villain.”

Jian Wen is on trial for allegedly laundering Bitcoin in cash for Yadi Zhang, who ran a fraudulent investment scheme in China, who purportedly duped around 130,000 investors into parting with a total $6 billion.

Jian’s lawyer told the court that Yadi had used her as a “sacrificial lamb” in his megalomaniacal ambitions.

The defending lawyer said: “Yadi Zhang is a super villain and there’s no other way to describe that.”

When police raided Jian’s house, they seized Bitcoin worth more than $2 billion.

The trial continues.

Guilty Plea From $100 Million Army Swindler

A woman allegedly swindled $108 million out of the U.S. Army using a children’s charity as the front for her operations agreed this week to plead guilty to fraud and tax charges.

In 2016, Janet Yamanaka Mello created a shell company, Child Health And Youth Lifelong Development, that collected funds to support the children of military personnel.

Mello worked for the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, as a financial program manager, and used the funds collected for the charity to sponsor a lavish lifestyle that included several properties, a fleet of cars and expensive clothes and jewelry — the latter earning her the nickname “Gucci Goddess.”

Her scheme was discovered by the IRS, which noted that her tax returns were inconsistent with her lavish lifestyle. Investigators pieced together her fraudulent activities before indicting Mello in December 2023.

Under the charges, Mello could face a prison sentence of up to 125 years. A date for the plea hearing is yet to be set.

Also Read: Inflation Tamed: Analysts Believe Fed’s Job Is Done — Most Predict June Rate Cut

‘SkinGun’ Pump And Dump Scam

A New York District Court entered a final judgment this week on two defendants accused of operating a fraudulent pump and dump scheme based around their listed medical devices company RenovaCare Inc. (OTC:RCAR).

Harmel Rayat, a Canadian citizen and controlling shareholder of RenovaCare, and Jatinder Bhogal, former chief operating officer of the Nevada-based company, were charged with securities fraud.

RenovaCare, listed since 2000, but inactively traded, was purported to be developing a device called the ‘SkinGun’ that was promoted as being able to improve the healing process of burn victims by using stem cells.

A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint alleged that the defendants conducted a fraudulent pump-and-dump scheme that included materially false statements to investors, undisclosed sales of shares while promoting the stock and manipulative trading.

The shares spiked as high as $12 during February 2018, but immediately fell to less than half of that.

The final judgment prohibited Rayat from acting as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years and barred him from participating in the offering of any penny stock. He was ordered to pay disgorgement of $1.27 million as well as interest and civil penalties totaling around $1.48 million.

Bhogal was delivered the same prohibitions, and was ordered to pay $1.14 million disgorgement and interest and civil penalties of nearly $900,000.

Now Read: How GenAI Can Help Find M&A Targets – Private Equity Meets Hi-Tech

Image: Shutterstock

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