A Reseda man will face up to 20 years behind bars when he is sentenced in November for his role in a $21 million cryptocurrency fraud that used fake business relationships with Apple, Pfizer and The Walt Disney Company to create the appearance of legitimacy.
Michael Stollery, the CEO and founder of Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services, a purported cryptocurrency investment platform, pleaded guilty on Friday, July 22, in Los Angeles to one federal count of securities fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The scheme involved the initial coin offering, which raised $21 million from investors in the United States and overseas.
Stollery, 54, admitted that to lure investors he falsified white papers, documents for prospective investors that typically explain how the technology underlying the cryptocurrency works and the purpose of the cryptocurrency project; planted fake testimonials on Titanium Blockchain’s website; and fabricated business relationships with the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and dozens of prominent companies to create the appearance of legitimacy.
“Mr. Stollery convinced victims to invest by deceiving them with calculated lies about the profit potential and by artfully creating an illusion that he was well-connected and a proven success,” Kristi Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said when the defendant was charged in June.
“While cryptocurrency investments can be alluring to those seeking the latest opportunity, caution is warranted as the fraud associated with decentralized money investments is pervasive,” she said.