An Instagram influencer, Jebara Igbara, also known as “Jay Manzini,” has pleaded guilty to luring investors into a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Authorities say he cheated his followers and drained almost $8 million in the sting.
According to a Justice Department report, Igbara asked his followers to send him Bitcoin BTC/USD worth $2.5 million. He assured them he would pay back the premium price for those transactions.
Officials say Igbara managed to solicit money from people who were part of the New York Muslim community.
He promised to pay his fans a reasonable price for the Bitcoin, which fans sent to his wallet. In addition, he would send fake wire transfer photos.
“With today’s plea, the defendant has admitted leveraging his Instagram popularity to prey upon innocent investors and steal at least $8 million of their hard-earned money. Together with our agency partners, this Office is committed to bringing scammers to justice,” the Justice Department statement said.
Authorities say Igbara ran the Bitcoin Ponzi scheme by posting ads on his Instagram page saying he was attempting to buy a large number of BTC, which prominent cryptocurrency trading firms would not allow him to do.
He has pleaded guilty to money laundering charges and faces 20 years in federal prison.