A Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to committing bank fraud after claiming to own bitcoin that he did not possess while trying to obtain a loan.
In a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice press release, officials said that Randall Smail "defrauded Pendleton Community Bank of approximately $552,533," in part by using fictitious records from crypto exchange Kraken to prove he owned bitcoin as part of the loan process. Though the press release cites a figure of $640 million, the actual court records state he tried to claim $640,000.
Court documents state that "[w]hile trying to secure the loan, Defendant showed Pendleton Bank printouts from Bitcoin that indicated that he had approximately $640,000 in funds in an account. Defendant did not actually have the money in the Bitcoin account."
"He also produced other fictitious paperwork, showing $10,000,000 in another bank that he transferred from his cryptocurrency account, all of which he knew was false. He used these false documents to defraud the bank," the U.S. Attorney's Office Northern District of West Virginia said in its statement.
Smail faces as many as 30 years in prison as well as $1 million in fines.