5 Things to Know About How Former NFL Owner Reginald Fowler Got Busted By Feds Over $800M Crypto Case

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
Arizona businessman Regginald “Reggie” Fowler meets with reporters on Feb.18, 2005, in Bloomington, Minn. Fowler was part of a group that bought the Minnesota Vikings in 2005. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Reginald Fowler, a former NFL lineman and businessman, was doing great in the eyes of many until the Feds swooped in and arrested him for operating an illegal crypto banking scheme.

Previously a short-lived player on the Arizona Wranglers pro football team in the mid-’80s, Fowler started investing after retiring in 1983. First, he invested in the Minnesota Vikings NFL franchise. Next he started investing in real estate. Then he discovered crypto.

Just like his time at the NFL, which faced a series of failures, his investments have been riddled with receiverships and allegations of fraud.

He was the owner of the now-bankrupt Spiral, Inc. and Kyrene OEM, LLC (formerly OEM Logistics, Inc.) in Tempe, Arizona.

U.S. prosecutors accuse Fowler and his partner Ravid Yosef of running a shadow banking ring that serviced some major digital currency businesses. Fowler’s involvement in the Crypto Capital/Bitfinex case allegedly saw investors lose as much as $850 million. Fowler is also accused of printing counterfeit $100 bills that the FBI said it found in his house and of trying to use fake bond certificates worth billions of dollars to obtain bank loans.

But how did the Feds bust Fowler?

1. Feds followed the money

The Feds tracked some $345 million in Bitfinex money spread across 60 different bank accounts around the world with $50 million of it in the U.S. Some $60 million of these funds were sent directly to Fowler’s personal account. The $60 million disappeared from his account and could not be located.

2. Fowler never hid his link to the money

While signing off on their case against Fowler and other co-accused, the prosecutor asked the court to consider him as a flight risk and detain him during the duration of the case since he had “access to hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts”. This showed it was easy to link Fowler back to the secret accounts across the world.

3.Used Crypto Capital’s money as collateral

Fowler tried to secure bank loans using Crypto Capital’s money as security and apparently did the same with faked bond certificates worth billions. The banks reported these attempts to the Feds.

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4.Spilled the beans for a plea

When contacted by the FBI, Fowler agreed to cooperate in the investigation in hopes of securing a plea bargain to avoid criminal penalties. Instead, Fowler warned co-conspirators of the investigation.

5. Fowler’s checkered record with the law

Fowler’s previous run-ins with the law, little respect for the criminal justice process and involvement in numerous fraudulent schemes made him an easy target for the Feds who already had him under surveillance.

Read more: Feds And CFTC Go After BitMex CEO Arthur Hayes For Illegal Crypto Trading And Money-Laundering