A Miami man who fleeced victims out of nearly $1 million in a fraudulent cryptocurrency investment scheme has been sentenced to over 5 years in federal prison.
30-year old Ryan James Crawford lured investors by portraying himself as a savvy crypto entrepreneur and stockbroker who had made tens of millions from similar opportunities.
- Ryan James Crawford, 30, from Miami was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for a fraudulent crypto scheme.
- He was ordered to forfeit nearly $1 million that he obtained from victims.
- Crawford falsely claimed to be a successful stockbroker and crypto entrepreneur who could make people rich.
- He tricked victims into investing $1 million by lying about having an AI trading software and ability to repay.
- Instead Crawford used funds on luxury rentals, gambling, and other personal uses rather than investing or repaying victims.
Crawford claimed he had developed an advanced AI trading software that “never lost” and promised extraordinary returns with minimal risk. His pitch was bolstered by flashy videos boasting of taking over the world.
In reality, Crawford had no trading expertise or AI software. He used victims’ funds on personal expenses like luxury car rentals and gambling sprees rather than investing the money.
Over 100 investors were scammed out of $988,000 between June 2020 and March 2022 through Crawford’s elaborate web of lies. He became the subject of an NBC news investigation after duped victims spoke out about losing tens of thousands of dollars.
The story sparked a joint probe by the Secret Service, FBI and local police, eventually leading to Crawford’s arrest in Colorado on wire fraud charges. He pled guilty in August.
At his sentencing, the court ordered Crawford to forfeit all $988,000 swindled from victims in addition to serving 66 months in prison. Prosecutors said he “caused significant financial hardship” through actions driven purely by “greed and self-interest.”
The case shows the risks of crypto investment scams promoted by perceived experts promising unrealistic returns. Crawford fittingly earned the moniker “Crypto Bro” for peddling the same get-rich-quick narrative that has cost many novice investors.