CFTC wins $32 million default judgment against crypto Ponzi scheme operator

A crypto fraud case that began in 2019 has come to a $32 million conclusion.

On Thursday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) saw a default judgment in the commission's favor in its case against Circle Society and its operator, David Gilbert Saffron. 

The Circle Society, which is unrelated to USDC issuer Circle, was a vehicle for Saffron to allegedly lie to investors about his forex and crypto investing expertise and persuade them to send funds to his personal crypto wallet, where they languished rather than going into any innovative trading strategy.

Prosecutors argued that Circle Society's new investments were being paid out to existing stakeholders until Saffron eventually stopped making payments -- in effect, the collapse of the scheme. 

The CFTC says that, since 2017, Saffron defrauded investors out of nearly $16 million in Bitcoin and U.S. dollars. Per today's judgment, Saffron owes $14,841,280 to defrauded pool participants, $15,815,967 in disgorgement, and $1,484,128 in penalties to the CFTC

The case began in September 2019, with the court ultimately frustrated at Saffron's inability to produce private keys for the crypto wallets involved.