Federal Court Orders UK Man, Benjamin Reynolds to Pay More Than $571 Million for Operating Fraudulent Bitcoin Trading Scheme
Washington, DC (STL.News) The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a default judgment against Benjamin Reynolds, purportedly of Manchester, England, finding that he operated a fraudulent scheme to solicit Bitcoin from members of the public and misappropriated customers’ bitcoin. This case was brought in connection with the Division of Enforcement’s Digital Assets Task Force.
The court’s March 2, 2021 order requires Reynolds to pay nearly $143 million in restitution to defrauded customers and a civil monetary penalty of $429 million. The order also permanently enjoins Reynolds from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, registering with the CFTC, and trading in any CFTC-regulated markets.
The judgment is the result of a 2019 enforcement action brought by the CFTC charging Reynolds, conducting business as Control-Finance Limited, with fraud and misappropriation. [See CFTC Press Release No. 7938-19]
Between May 2017 and October 2017, Reynolds used a public website, various social media accounts, and email communications to solicit at least 22,190.542 bitcoin, valued at approximately $143 million at the time, from more than 1,000 customers worldwide, including at least 169 individuals residing in the U.S.