Instagram influencer ‘Jay Mazini’ charged by SEC after facing up to 20 years in prison
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Jebara Igbara, the founder of Halal Capital LLC, for an alleged fraudulent scheme worth more than $8 million scheme.
Jebara Igbara, also known as Jay Mazini, used his firm Halal Capital LLC to target investors from the New York metropolitan area’s Muslim community, according to the government agency.
Halal Capital was founded in October 2019 with the claimed goal of sharing his purported investment expertise with members of the Muslim community.
‘Jay Mazini”s Ponzi scheme targeted NY Muslim community
Jebara Igbara offered investors promissory notes that claimed to offer guaranteed, significant returns on investments in Halal Capital and, according to the SEC’s complaint, he obtained about $8 million from investors and promised to invest the funds in Quran-compliant investments.
Sharia-compliant investments included being pooled for the purchase of wholesale goods for resale, including electronics and personal protective equipment (“PPE”).
Instead of providing these Sharia-compliant investment services, Jebara Igbara made Ponzi-like payments to Halal Capital investors and misappropriated the rest of the investor’s funds into his personal accounts for personal use, including luxury vehicles and expensive jewelry or to pay off gambling debts, the SEC alleges.
Sheldon Pollock, Associate Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, commented: “As alleged in the complaint, more than a dozen investors in the Muslim community were targeted in this Ponzi-like scheme whose purpose was to enrich the defendant. The Division of Enforcement remains steadfast in pursuing fraud where individuals seek to exploit the trust from fellow members in a community.”
‘Jay Mazini’ faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment
Yesterday, “Jay Mazini” pleaded guilty in a federal court in Brooklyn to a three count information charging him with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering.
His scheme included maintaining a popular Instagram account under the name “Jay Mazini,” where he would post videos depicting, among other things, occasions during which he would hand out large amounts of cash to various individuals as gifts. In reality, Igbara was perpetrating overlapping fraud schemes, scamming investors out of at least $8 million.
He is charged with perpetrating a scheme to defraud members of the Muslim-American community in New York by soliciting their money for purported investments in stock, electronics resale, and purchases of COVID-19 related personal protective equipment (PPE), while in reality, he was operating a Ponzi scheme, and misappropriated nearly all of the money for his personal expenses and gambling.
In a second fraudulent scheme, he posted on his Instagram and other social media accounts that he was willing to pay above-market prices for various cryptocurrencies. He would then send his victims doctored images of wire transfer confirmations that purported to show he had sent money for the cryptocurrency as promised, when in reality, the payment was never sent, and Igbara was merely stealing the cryptocurrency sent by his victim.
He faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Too good to be true
“With today’s plea, the defendant has admitted to leveraging his Instagram popularity to prey upon innocent investors and steal at least $8 million of their hard-earned money,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Together with our agency partners, this Office is committed to bringing scammers to justice.”
“As he admitted today, Igbara deliberately operated multiple scams to cheat a multitude of investors out of their money. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to stopping fraudsters of all types and holding them accountable in the criminal justice system,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“All the victims in this case were promised something that was too good to be true. Those in the Ponzi scheme were all assured a high rate of return in a short amount of time, while the victims of the Bitcoin advance fee scheme were guaranteed above current market value for their Bitcoin. This multi-million dollar case is a reminder for anyone thinking of investing: Be skeptical of any investments with larger than life promises, because if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Fattorusso.