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US DOJ Seeks 6-8 Weeks to Process Evidence in Alex Mashinsky’s Crypto Fraud Case

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Adobe/Studio_East

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested six to eight weeks to gather evidence for its case against Alex Mashinsky, the founder and former CEO of cryptocurrency lender Celsius

In a court filing on TuesdayJudge John G. Koeltl announced that the next conference for the case will take place on October 3.

The extended period is necessary to ensure proper legal counsel and to allow sufficient time for both the government and the defense to review the extensive evidence due to the complexity of the case.

To comply with the Speedy Trial calculations, which ensure trials commence within 70 days of filing charges, Judge Koeltl excluded the time between July 25, 2023, and October 3, 2023. 

This exclusion gives the DOJ sufficient time to process a substantial volume of Celsius’ corporate records and communications, including over 1,200 videos of ask-me-anything sessions involving Mashinsky and other Celsius executives, some of which exceed an hour in duration.

Mashinsky, who was arrested earlier this monthpled not guilty to charges of securities fraud, commodities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to manipulate the price of Celsius’ token, CEL. 

His defense attorney, Marc Mukasey, represented Mashinsky in court. The trial date is yet to be determined.

Judge John G. Koeltl previously granted Mashinsky’s legal team extra time to meet the requirements of his $40 million bail. 

DOJ Alleges Mashinskey Defrauded Celsius Customers

The DOJ unsealed the indictment against Mashinsky on July 13, alleging that he, along with Roni Cohen-Pavon, the former chief revenue officer of the crypto lender, orchestrated a scheme to defraud customers of Celsius Network.

The indictment further claims that Mashinsky made false statements, manipulated the price of CEL, and attempted to deceive investors as part of the fraudulent scheme. 

Mashinsky was released on a $40 million bond on July 14. 

In addition to the DOJ’s charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have also filed lawsuits against Mashinsky and Celsius.

The regulatory bodies allege that customers were deceived into making deposits on Celsius and were falsely led to believe that the bankrupt firm was a legitimate bank.

Mashinsky, who co-founded Celsius in 2017, raised funds through an initial coin offering. 

The company experienced a significant surge in popularity during the pandemic, introducing loan offerings and attractive interest rates for virtual token deposits. 

Mashinsky often positioned these offerings as safer alternatives to those offered by traditional banks. 

However, the collapse of Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin UST and a downturn in the crypto market led to disastrous consequences for the company. 

Despite vehemently denying substantial losses, Celsius faced a wave of customer withdrawals, eventually freezing withdrawals in June 2022, and filing for bankruptcy protection a month later.