A UK-based man who scammed people of over 20,000 Bitcoin has been ordered to pay penalties worth $571 million by a federal court in Manhattan, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on March 26.
Benjamin Reynolds from Manchester, England, is accused of duping at least 170 customers, based in the United States, of their Bitcoin from May to October 2017, Bloomberg reported.
The catch, however, is that US authorities do not know where Reynolds is and would find it difficult to recover the money. The CFTC also acknowledged that the order, might not necessarily result in recovery of assets as Reynolds “may have insufficient funds to pay.”
The $571 million penalty, ordered by the Southern District of New York, consists of a $429 million fine and close to $143 million in restitution, the report said.
The order notes that Reynolds “failed to appear or answer" after the CFTC filed a complaint and sued him in January 2019.
As per the CFTC, Reynolds got the victims to transfer their Bitcoin, then worth $143 million, to him on the promise of trading the tokens on virtual currency markets for increased profit, but did not follow through.