Bitcoin fraudster secures more time to complete review of discovery

Maria Nikolova

The initial conference in the criminal case targeting Jon Barry Thompson is adjourned to February 27, 2020.

Jon Barry Thompson, who is charged with commodities fraud and wire fraud in connection to the sale of Bitcoin, has been granted extra time to review discovery in the criminal proceedings against him.

Judge Edgardo Ramos of the New York Southern District has granted a request by the defendant to adjourn the initial conference in the case – it has been rescheduled to February 27, 2020. The adjournment (of more than a month) is poised to give Thompson and his counsel time to complete a review of the discovery so that they can inform the Court regarding potential defense motions. The defense say they have been reviewing the discovery diligently but will need additional time to review the most recent productions as well as any additional productions before they can advise the Court on potential defense motions.

Let’s recall that the CFTC action against Thompson is stayed in its entirety until the conclusion of the parallel criminal case.

On July 25, 2019, a criminal complaint was unsealed, charging Thompson with two counts of commodities fraud and two counts of wire fraud. The charges related to two fraudulent schemes in which Thompson induced two victim companies to send millions of dollars to his companies, Volantis Escrow Platform LLC and Volantis Market Making LLC in connection with the sale of Bitcoin. On September 25, 2019, an indictment was returned, charging Thompson with the same counts, based on the same conduct alleged in the criminal complaint.

On September 25, 2019, the CFTC filed a complaint against Thompson alleging violations of the commodities laws related to the same schemes.

As alleged in the Criminal Complaint, the Indictment and the CFTC Complaint, Thompson claimed in promotional materials for Volantis that Volantis “minimize settlement default risk” in cryptocurrency transactions. Thompson claimed that because Volantis acted as a custodian of assets for “both sides of the transaction, there is no risk of default.”

In or about 2018, Thompson induced two customers to send roughly $7 million to fund the purchase of bitcoin after making false representations that he or the company had the bitcoin in hand and the customers’ money would be safeguarded. After receiving the customers’ money, Thompson sent virtually all of the money to third parties without first receiving any bitcoin in return. It is further alleged that after taking the customers’ money and failing to provide any bitcoin in return, Thompson lied to the customers about the location of the bitcoin, the reasons the transaction was not completed, and the status of the customers’ money.

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