A Texas resident was indicted on July 14 by the United States attorney for the southern Texas district. The allegations suggest that he fraudulently applied for $ 1.1 million in credit through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). He claimed he was looking for relief from COVID-19, but allegedly actually used the funds to buy cryptocurrencies.
According to allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice, 29-year-old Joshua Thomas Argires has given false information to financial institutions. Officials claim that Argires committed wire fraud by setting up a scheme for submitting requests to the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Argires managed to file COVID-19 aid requests on behalf of two companies called “Texas Barbecue” and “Houston Landscaping”. He incorrectly claimed that both companies had numerous employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages.
Money invested in a cryptocurrency account
The money received on behalf of Texas Barbecue has reportedly been invested in a cryptocurrency account on the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange.
The federal criminal law suit provides that from May 19 The Texas person started a series of transactions that ultimately resulted in $ 956,250 being transferred to the Coinbase account through five bank transfers.
According to the police, the money invested will remain in Argires’ Coinbase account as of June 30. The authorities found that the funds had already made profits:
“ARGIRES has exclusive control over the Coinbase account. In fact, ARGIRES is the only user associated with the account and there is no evidence that anyone else is managing this account for them. In addition, the internet protocol address associated with multiple transactions with the Coinbase account appears to be associated with a physical location in or near a residence in southwest Houston that researchers believe is associated with ARGIRES. “
The Texas securities regulator has continued its offensive against cryptocurrency fraud. On April 8, the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) issued an emergency order against a company called Ultra Mining.
This crypto-mining company is said to have been involved in various illegal activities, including fraudulent claims that they would double investors’ money.