The founders of a cryptocurrency company, Bruce Bise and Samuel Mendez, pleaded guilty to tax evasion for a scheme that defrauded more than 13,000 investors of approximately 24 million dollars.
Bise and Mendez marketed their company, Bitqyck, and the company’s currency, Bitqy, as a way for “those individuals who missed out on Bitcoin” to get rich. Except they were the only ones who got rich.
The two men promised investors shares in a currency that never existed, and profited by diverting money from the company for their personal use. From 2016 to 2018 they used almost nine million dollars of investor money for personal expenses. This included multiple casino trips, cars, luxury home furnishings, art and rent.
In 2016 and 2017 Bise underreported his income to the IRS, resulting in a tax loss of $371,278. During the same period Mendez also underreported his income, resulting in a tax loss of $311,155. In 2018 the company failed to file a corporate tax return despite netting more than 3.5 million dollars from investors.
Both men face up to five years in prison.