Aussie university dropout, 24, admits to running a cryptocurrency scam that saw him steal $117MILLION from US investors to pay for his lavish lifestyle
- An Australian university dropout is facing up to 20 years in prison in the US
- Stefan He Qin, 24, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in Manhattan federal court
- He stole $117million from cryptocurrency investors for ‘personal indulgences’
An Australian university dropout is facing 20 years in prison after cheating investors out of over $117million ($US90million) by stealing money they spent on his cryptocurrency fund.
Stefan He Qin, 24, is awaiting sentencing in the US after pleading guilty to securities fraud in Manhattan federal court last week.
The Canberra native squandered the money trusting investors spent on his crypto fund after dropping out of his Advanced Mathematics and Computer Science degree at UNSW in 2016.
Authorities said the fraud occurred from 2017 to 2020 as Qin operated the fund titled Virgil Sigma.
Stefan He Qin, 24, is awaiting sentencing in the US after pleading guilty to securities fraud in Manhattan federal court last week
‘Stefan He Qin drained almost all of the assets from the $90 million cryptocurrency fund he owned, stealing investors’ money, spending it on indulgences and speculative personal investments, and lying to investors about the performance of the fund and what he had done with their money,’ U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
She said Qin then tried to steal money from another fund he controlled to meet the redemption demands of the defrauded investors in the former fund.
‘The whole house of cards has been revealed, and Qin now awaits sentencing for his brazen thievery,’ Strauss said.
Prosecutors said Qin cheated dozens of investors, including many in the United States.
They said the fraud was revealed last summer when Qin was having difficulty meeting redemption requests from investors.
Sean Hecker and Shawn Crowley, attorneys for Qin, said in a statement that their client ‘has accepted full responsibility for his actions and is committed to doing what he can to make amends.’
The university dropout is facing up to 20 years in prison after stealing $117million (US$90M) from cryptocurrency investors to pay for his New York City penthouse and lavish lifestyle
The 24-year-old spent almost all the funds on ‘personal indulgences’, including food, services, rent and property investments, to the frustration of investors.
‘It’s not like he lost money because the market turned on him,’ one investor, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Australian Financial Review.
‘It seems like he’s actually spent $90million on living his life and investing in crazy s**t.’
In 2018, Qin appeared on CNBC’s FastMoney and was profiled by The Wall Street Journal.
The article said Qin returned 500 per cent in the year earlier, and the then-21-year-old was managing $23.5million.
Qin will be sentenced on May 20. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.
In 2018, Qin appeared on CNBC’s FastMoney (pictured) and was profiled by The Wall Street Journal