Instagram Influencer Grifts And Scams Bubblehead Followers Out Of Millions In Bitcoin
Federal investigators have charged an Instagram influencer, known for shooting viral videos of himself handing out money to random people on the street, for grifting and scamming followers out of Bitcoin worth more than $2.5 million.
The influencer, whose real name is Jegara Igbara, uses an alter ego “Jay Mazini.” He is accused of inducing victims into sending him Bitcoin in exchange for wire transfers of cash. In reality, he never sent the money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced.
“Igbara used his immense social media popularity to dupe his followers into selling him Bitcoin,” said Mark Lesko, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
He lured his victims by claiming to “pay above market prices because the traditional Bitcoin exchanges were limiting how much Bitcoin he could purchase”.
“When victims agreed to transact in Bitcoin with Igbara, he sent them documents that included images of purported wire transfer confirmation pages that falsely confirmed Igbara had sent a wire transfer for the promised amounts,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
At least $2.5 million worth of Bitcoin was stolen, with one victim sending Igbara 54 BTC. Igbara only wired $500,000 of his part of the total transaction.
In February, one Bitcoin was going for $47,000. Igbara offered to pay his victims $52,000 for each Bitcoin.
The 25-year-old Instagram star with nearly 1 million followers would post viral videos of himself handing out large amounts of cash to strangers as gifts.
In September, he teamed up with hip-hop artist 50 Cent to hand out more $30,000 in cash to employees at a Burger King in Queens, New York.
It is also alleged that Igbara recorded himself holding a machete to a naked man’s neck to try and intimidate him into removing negative social media posts after reports of the scam surfaced.
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