Federal grand jury indicts trio behind phony cryptocurrency PlexCoin

Maria Nikolova

Dominic Lacroix, Yan Ouellet, and Sabrina Paradis-Royer are charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

United States Attorney Justin Herdman announced on Friday that a federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland has returned a five-count indictment charging Dominic Lacroix, Yan Ouellet, and Sabrina Paradis-Royer, all of Quebec, Canada, with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the indictment, from May 2017 to December 2017, the defendants conspired together to induce investors to purchase PlexCoin, a cryptocurrency offered through an entity known as PlexCorps. The cryptocurrency would become available to investors during an ICO or Initial Coin Offering. The defendants intended to use the ICO as a way to defraud investors and enrich themselves.

To carry out their alleged scheme, the defendants and their co-conspirators marketed and promoted PlexCorps and the PlexCoin ICO to the public, including investors within the Northern District of Ohio, via social media and publicly accessible Internet websites.

The indictment states that the defendants made numerous false claims about PlexCorps and PlexCoin in order to obtain digital and fiat currency from investors, including that PlexCorps’ management consisted of a global “team” of financial, managerial and other subject-matter experts headquartered in Singapore; the proceeds of the PlexCoin ICO would be used to develop other PlexCorps products; and that investors would receive significant returns for their initial investment. The defendants are also alleged to have omitted certain materials facts about the ownership and operations of PlexCorps to conceal their true intent.

According to the indictment, around June 2017, PlexCorps began promoting PlexCoin to the public as a new digital cryptocurrency that would be available through an upcoming ICO. Around August 2017, PlexCorps published a whitepaper for PlexCoin entitled “PlexCoin: The Next Cryptocurrency” (“Whitepaper”), which was available for review on the internet by potential investors. This Whitepaper contained numerous false claims, including that some investments in PlexCoin could result in a 1,354% return.

This Whitepaper explained that funds raised through the PlexCoin ICO and pre-sale would be used to further the maintenance and development of PlexCoin and, later on, allow for PlexCorps to offer additional products and services for sale.

Investors were permitted to begin investing in PlexCoin in August of 2017. During the ICO, investors purchased PlexCoin using a variety of methods, including digital currency, such as Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin, to wallet addresses on a blockchain. Investors also tendered fiat currency, including USD and Canadian dollars (CAD), and provided credit card information through payment portals available on the PlexCoin website or through U.S.-based online payment processors such as PayPal, Square, or Stripe.

Investors purchased approximately US$8 million worth of PlexCoin throughout the ICO.

Let’s recall that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also brought a lawsuit against the individuals associated with PlexCorps.

Read this next

Industry News

AcadiaSoft rebrands to Acadia to reflect industry-standard platform

Having transformed into an industry-standard platform, Acadia is now focused on helping clients achieve regulatory compliance, optimize their collateral and liquidity, and manage their capital more efficiently.

Digital Assets, Inside View

XRP, DOGE, ADA, ETH, BTC take heed of Big Short legend’s warning: “Mother of all crashes”

“When crypto falls from trillions, or meme stocks fall from tens of billions, #MainStreet losses will approach the size of countries.”

Digital Assets

BBVA throws open bitcoin (BTC) trading for its private banking clients in Switzerland

BBVA, one of the major banks in Spain with a fully owned franchise in Switzerland, has announced that bitcoin trading and storage would be available for its private banking clients in Switzerland.

Industry News

Standard Chartered gets a new CIO, thanks to ING

Standard Chartered has hired Roel Louwhoff as its new chief of digital, technology, and innovation officer to replace the outgoing CIO Michael Gorriz.

Industry News

Cost of compliance for AML regulations in UK hits the roof

A survey undertaken by LexisNexis Risk solutions across financial firms has shown that the cost of adhering to compliance procedures exceeds the cost of criminal threats themselves.

Digital Assets

SEC’s ‘Crypto Mom’ says Ripple’s XRP doesn’t have to be a security

“When we think about a cryptoasset as being a security what we’re doing is we’re saying it’s being sold as part of an investment contract.”

Digital Assets, Inside View

SEC v. Ripple: When will the lawsuit end?

Ripple Labs needs to close this legal chapter with the SEC as soon as possible.

Inside View, Market News

Crypto Crash: Experts weigh in as leverage drives market both ways, including XRP

We spoke to thought leaders from Advanced Markets, FXOpen, and Equiti Capital to ascertain their view on what was behind last month’s crash as it is unlikely to be the last.

Digital Assets

BitMex hires Marc Robinson in push to going beyond derivatives

BitMex, one of the largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges in the world and a pioneer in this field, has announced the hiring of Marc Robinson as Head of Custody as it pushes to offer more services and products apart from derivatives.