Centra Tech co-founder sentenced to eight years in prison for fraudulent ICO

A federal judge has sentenced a lead defendant in the Centra Tech case to eight years in prison.

Centra co-founder Sohrab Sharma previously plead guilty to conspiring to commit securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud in relation to an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) scheme. 

Sharma and other defendants founded Centra Tech in 2017, claiming to offer crypto products including a debit card. They allegedly solicited investors to purchase its forthcoming token as part of its ICO with fraudulent claims. These included partnerships with Bancorp, Visa and Mastercard to offer its CentraCard and that it had obtained licenses in 38 states, among other misrepresentations. 


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The project was known for its celebrity endorsements during the ICO boom. DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather were among its supporters.  

By 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had seized 100,000 ETH from Centra Tech, and later sold them this year. Thus began a legal battle with Centra Tech's leadership, resulting in Sharma's sentencing today. 

In addition to the eight-year sentence, the court sentenced Sharma to three years of supervised release and fined him $20,000. Sharma was also forced to forfeit about $36 million. 

About Author

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to akeely@theblock.co or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.