They invested in a new cryptocurrency. They lost thousands of dollars. – NBC 6 South Florida
In a video posted on a WhatsApp chat, Ryan Crawford, known as “Brody”, dances and celebrates what he says is the launch of his new cryptocurrency called “Cheetah”.
“We’re about to take over the world,” Crawford can be heard saying in the video, which was posted on December 5, 2021.
According to Alberto Rivera and two others who spoke to NBC 6 investigators, Crawford told them he was launching the new coin and a digital platform that used artificial intelligence to do crypto trading.
“So these bots on the blockchain would actually do the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies,” Rivera said. “He says ‘hey listen, would you be interested in testing? So if you make your investments, what we’ll do is we’ll take the revenue my bot generates, I’ll pass it on to you and then I’ll continue to invest.
Simply put, cryptocurrency is a digital asset that works like a stock in the market. Each currency has a value that fluctuates depending on different factors. It has become so popular that many are launching their own digital currency.
In this case, Crawford confirmed that he offered to invest people’s money in the crypto market and in his “Cheetah” coin as part of what he called his “investment club.” .
Rivera told NBC 6 that he sent Crawford nearly $12,000 between crypto and cash.
“The gains could have been based on how aggressively you wanted to play the market,” Rivera said.
But Rivera said he never got back because Crawford’s so-called house of cards collapsed the day of a launch party when a group of high-profile people sent him $140,000 to invest. In a message he shared via WhatsApp, he admitted he had lost everything.
“I don’t lose much, but when I do, it’s like in really s — situations like with you guys, and I’m sorry, I’m really sorry,” Crawford can be heard saying on the video.
It wasn’t the first time Crawford let investors down.
Fredy Hernandez said he gave Crawford $10,000 to invest in the stock market and when he tried to collect the alleged proceeds from his investment, his lawsuit claims Crawford gave him an NSF check for $140,000.
“The check was presented for payment to the drawee bank… but the payment was dishonoured, due to the closure of the account,” the lawsuit states.
“He kept saying to people in the group chat, ‘Oh, I already paid for such and such stuff, I don’t even understand why they keep asking me for money’, but in reality, he never paid anyone,” Hernandez told NBC 6.
Hernandez and another investor, who also filed a lawsuit claiming she received an NSF check, won in court but did not get their money back.
A third trial is underway and their lawyer, Jacqueline Salcines, said the calls keep coming.
“I have a list of about 8 other people who fell victim to him,” Salcines said.
She says she doesn’t know what Crawford did with the money he received.
Using the same law enforcement software, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) cybersecurity experts were able to track the cryptocurrency sent to Crawford’s account.
“The total value of the cryptocurrency he had sent to his address was approximately $1.2 million and that’s in today’s money,” said Collin Connors, security administrator at information at ERM.
They said Crawford transferred everything to an offshore crypto exchange in the Seychelles Islands in Africa, where the US government has no jurisdiction.
When NBC 6 investigators contacted Crawford, he texted our team saying he was in rehab and called the allegations “fake news.”
He said he would meet with NBC 6’s investigative team twice but never showed up. Then he said he could talk on the phone but ended up sending a series of text messages instead.
“Never invest what you are not prepared to lose…I built the worst trading platform and was going to launch it…then I was accused of being a ponzi scheme and a few of my investors sold all their coins and took all the cash,” Crawford wrote in a text message.
He initially denied receiving the roughly $1.2 million overseas that ERM experts have been tracking, but when we showed him the graph via text message, he provided a breakdown of how he allegedly used it. the money: “700,000 was used to reimburse people”, “400,000 was lost in trading” and “100k was my commissions for killing it for people.”
Then, he texted us saying he was homeless: “I am currently homeless and lost everything and sadly that’s the truth, but I will rebuild my path one day.”
“He knows the FBI is looking for him. He knows we have filed complaints with the police, but that doesn’t stop him from continuing to do this to the victims,” Salcines said.
When asked why they invested so much money with Crawford, his accusers told NBC 6 he looked the part.
“The image he had was that he was hanging out with a lot of celebrities, making a lot of money in stocks and stuff,” Hernandez said.
“At one point he drove an amazing Bentley SUV,” Alberto Rivera said.
Experts tell NBC Investigators 6 that anyone can create a cryptocurrency, but before investing in it, you should do your research and see what backing it has.
Although cryptocurrency is not regulated or insured by the government, they can investigate suspected scams regardless of the currency used.
Salcines said several people had already reported Crawford to the FBI. This agency told NBC 6 that it was unable to do an interview at this time or confirm this information.