A smaller note in yesterday's busy day for Preet Bharara, criminal fraud charges were announced against Trendon Shavers, also known as pirateat40, for running a Ponzi scheme. In Preet's own words:
As alleged, Trendon Shavers managed to combine financial and cyber fraud into a Bitcoin Ponzi scheme that offered absurdly high interest payments, and ultimately cheated his investors out of their Bitcoin investments. This case, the first of its kind, should serve as a warning to those looking to make a quick buck with unsecured currency.
Shavers had been facing a civil complaint brought by the SEC since late July in 2013. Much as the Silk Road prosecutions are happening in the Southern District of New York, the Shavers prosecution is also happening there in spite of Shavers being a native Texan. Questionable choices in Jurisdiction have hurt Federal cases against Internet activities in the past, such as when Arkansas resident Andrew Auernheimer had his conviction dismissed due to venue concerns.