An Instagram influencer known as Jay Mazini has been accused of defrauding his followers in an alleged scheme that resulted in the theft of some $2.5 million in bitcoin, according to a release from the Department of Justice.
Mazini, identified in court papers as Jebara Igbara, allegedly leveraged Instagram — and his more than one million followers — to solicit Bitcoin, promising 3.5-5% premiums for the transaction. Prosecutors say he never paid victims.
In all, Igbara allegedly amassed at least $2.5 million worth of bitcoin from his followers. The Department of Justice said the investigation is ongoing according to Wednesday's press statement.
Bank records allegedly show that Igbara did not have enough funds in his account to pay at least one victim the promised amount, so he faked transaction confirmation receipts misrepresenting that he sent the promised wire transfer to victims.
The affidavit for the arrest warrant states that for one of his victims, Igbara promised to pay $195,700 for 5.049 Bitcoin around January 7, 2021. The victim messaged Igbara on WhatsApp and asked: “U send me wire receipt and I send you coins?” Igbara responded, “Of course. Of course I will send the wire transfer receipt.” After this victim noted that they had not received the wire transfer, Igbara allegedly repeated reasons why the transfer was delayed.
"The charge in the indictment is an allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Igbara faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment," the DOJ said.