Ex-Deutsche Bank employer charged with fraud

A former Deutsche Bank investment banker has been accused of misappropriating funds from investors he had promised high returns from cryptocurrency trading, according to an indictment revealed on Tuesday. Rashawn Russell, aged 27, from Brooklyn, allegedly requested investments from acquaintances but spent the funds on gambling and personal expenses instead. Prosecutors said that he informed potential investors that he was a certified broker who worked in investment banking and could assist them in earning large returns from R3, a cryptocurrency fund he claimed to manage.

As per the indictment, Russell transferred some of the funds into a trading account but redirected the rest and produced fraudulent documentation to investors regarding how their money was performing. Russell was apprehended on Monday in Brooklyn after being charged in a sealed indictment last Thursday. He was charged with one count of wire fraud, and the prosecution has alleged that the scam ran from November 2020 to August 2022. He pleaded not guilty at a hearing on Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn federal court.

According to the indictment, Russell served as an investment banker at an unnamed financial institution from July 2018 through November 2021. On his LinkedIn page, he claimed to have been appointed as a Deutsche Bank investment banking analyst in July 2018 and promoted to associate in July 2020. U.S. prosecutors and regulators have been cracking down on digital asset fraud. Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, stated, “Russell turned the demand for cryptocurrency investments into a scheme to defraud numerous investors.”

Deutsche Bank issued a statement in which it declined to comment on an ongoing legal case but stated that it “frequently supports law enforcement and regulatory oversight efforts, including appropriately responding to and cooperating with authorized investigations and proceedings.” U.S. prosecutors have been more proactive in their efforts to monitor and limit cryptocurrency scams. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently formed a specialised cyber unit to focus on digital asset-related misconduct, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued several warnings on the dangers of cryptocurrency scams.

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