UK Court Hands Stiff Sentences to Crypto Fraudsters Operating Elaborate Scam

Picture Source: BeInCrypto

In a landmark ruling, a UK court has handed down severe sentences to two crypto fraudsters who masterminded an elaborate scam that preyed on unsuspecting investors seeking high returns in the cryptocurrency market. The court found Ross Jay and Michael Freckleton guilty of conspiracy to defraud for their involvement in a crypto scam that operated under the guise of a non-existent cryptocurrency named “Telecoin.” The pair will serve six years and three months, and six years and six months, respectively, for their deceptive scheme that dates back to 2015.

The Elaborate Crypto Scam

Operating under the name of the company “Digi Ex,” Ross Jay and Michael Freckleton presented themselves as legitimate cryptocurrency traders and lured potential investors with enticing promises of lucrative returns through their non-existent digital currency, Telecoin. However, investigations later revealed that Digi Ex was nothing more than a shady shell company with no genuine investment activities.

As the crypto market boomed in its early stages, the fraudsters exploited the enthusiasm and lack of awareness among potential investors who rushed to invest in Telecoin without conducting proper due diligence. Consequently, they amassed more than $635,000 from unsuspecting victims.

Misuse of Funds

Contrary to their promises of using the received funds for crypto trading, the fraudsters pocketed the money themselves and paid exorbitant salaries to Digi Ex employees. This misappropriation of funds added insult to injury for the defrauded investors who had put their trust in the fraudulent scheme.

Crypto ATMs and Regulatory Concerns

The rise of cryptocurrency ATMs in the UK further highlights the frenzy surrounding the crypto market during its early days. The rapid proliferation of unregulated crypto ATMs raised alarm among UK authorities, prompting them to enforce strict registration requirements and conduct extensive raids on these ATMs.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in collaboration with law enforcement, carried out high-profile raids on crypto ATMs in East London and Leeds, aiming to shut them down. These actions were taken to curb potential fraudulent activities surrounding cryptocurrency investments.

The FCA’s Vigilance Against Crypto Scams

The FCA has been increasingly focused on monitoring the cryptocurrency markets, particularly in response to the growing number of scams and unregistered crypto ventures. During a six-month period ending in September 2021, the FCA initiated over 300 inquiries into unregistered crypto schemes and received approximately 4,300 reports of possible crypto scams on its ScamSmart website.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Parish, while commenting on the recent sentencing of the crypto fraudsters, urged investors to exercise caution and perform thorough research before investing in emerging cryptocurrencies. He emphasized the importance of choosing companies that are FCA registered and internationally recognized, or seeking advice from accredited financial advisors to avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

Read More: Why Dorian Nakamoto’s Connection to Bitcoin Founder Remains Unlikely


The stiff sentences handed to Ross Jay and Michael Freckleton for their crypto fraud operation serve as a stark reminder of the potential risks involved in the cryptocurrency market. As cryptocurrencies continue to gain popularity and attract both investors and scammers alike, regulatory authorities like the FCA remain vigilant in their efforts to protect investors from fraudulent schemes. Prospective investors are encouraged to exercise caution, conduct due diligence, and seek advice from trusted financial experts to navigate the cryptocurrency landscape safely.

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