Gemcoin’s founder Steve Chen was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday for defrauding tens of thousands of investors in one of the largest early cryptocurrency investment programs.
Chen, 63, admitted last February that he ran US Fine Investment Arts (USFIA) and sold $ 147 million in “gem coins” (crypto allegedly backed by gems) to over 70,000 investors from 2013 to 2015 . The prosecution has called USFIA a tiered marketing program called Ponzi.
His guilty confession of a number of tax evasion and a number of conspiracies to commit wire fraud carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. Judge John F. Walter also ordered Chen to pay IRS tax of $ 1,885,094.
Chen’s sentencing is complete, but his case is far from over. The judge scheduled a redress hearing in July to discuss how Chen’s victim investors should heal.