NY Court determines restitution amount due by Bitfunder operator Jon Montroll
Montroll, who was sentenced to 14 months of imprisonment, will have to pay restitution of $155,572 to the victims of the fraudulent scheme he operated.
Judge Richard M. Berman of the New York Southern District Court has earlier today determined the amount of restitution due by Jon Montroll, the operator of Bitcoin-related services WeExchange and Bitfunder.com.
Montroll was sentenced to 14 months of prison in July this year but the Court did not back then rule on the restitution amount the defendant will have to pay to the victims of the fraudulent schemes.
Today, the Court found by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s restitution obligation is $155,572.53. This amount, the Judge explained, is close to the parties agreed upon amount restitution of $167,438.00 as set forth in the plea agreement. Montroll had argued in favor for a much smaller sum.
Thus, the amended judgment as to Jon E. Montroll sentences him to 14 months of imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and the above-mentioned restitution. The Court recommends that the defendant be placed in the FCI Camp Facility Bastrop in Texas or the FCI Camp facility Texarkana in Texas. The defendant shall surrender for service of sentence at the institution designated by the Bureau of Prisons before 2pm on November 29, 2019.
Montroll has pleaded guilty to securities fraud and obstruction of justice for deceiving investors and potential investors of virtual security known as Ukyo.Loan in connection with Montroll’s discovery of a catastrophic computer hack of his business, and for his lies to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission during the SEC’s investigation into that hack.
By December 2012, Montroll operated two different Bitcoin-related web services. First, Montroll operated WeExchange, Australia, Pty. Ltd, known as “WeExchange,” which functioned as a bitcoin depository and currency exchange service. Second, Montroll launched “Bitfunder.com,” an online platform that facilitated the purchase and trading of virtual shares in investment opportunities offered mostly by others. Those two services interlinked: Users of BitFunder were required to create a WeExchange account to facilitate BitFunder transactions, and any investments through BitFunder were held on WeExchange in what was referred to as the “WeExchange Wallet.”
Beginning in late July 2013, and continuing for about a month, until August 27, 2013, a hacker or hackers exploited a weakness in BitFunder’s programming code to confer credits to themselves that they did not earn. When Montroll discovered the Exploit, he attempted to cover it up. Montroll transferred a large amount of bitcoin he had stored elsewhere into the WeExchange system to backfill the losses, but did not disclose the fact of the Exploit to his users.
By the early fall of 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began investigating the Exploit and Montroll’s response. As part of that investigation, the SEC conducted an investigative deposition of Montroll. During that interview, Montroll falsely denied to the SEC that the Exploit had caused losses and falsely claimed that he had managed to detect and halt the Exploit within its first few hours. A few weeks after the initial interview, Montroll admitted that the Exploit had, in fact, been successful and that users’ bitcoins had been taken.
On February 20, 2018, the United States charged Montroll by Criminal Complaint with perjury and obstruction of justice.