Man Pleads Guilty to $55M Investment Fraud Scheme
A Florida man pleaded guilty today to orchestrating an investment fraud scheme that defrauded more than 10,000 victims of over $55 million.
February 23, 2023
According to court documents, Michael Glaspie, 72, of Palm City, marketed an investment opportunity under the name "CoinDeal" or "Coin Deal." Glaspie claimed that CoinDeal would yield extremely high returns on the premise that one or more technology companies – operated under the banner of "ViRSE" and allegedly owned by Neil Suresh Chandran – was about to be acquired by a consortium of wealthy buyers. To entice investors to put money into CoinDeal, Glaspie falsely promised that in the event the returns from CoinDeal failed to materialize, he would repay investors their money with seven percent annual interest over three years. In fact, Glaspie knew he had no means of making such repayments.
"For his brazen and repeated lies that defrauded more than 10,000 victims out of more than $55 million, the defendant now justifiably faces a lengthy prison term," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. "The Department of Justice is committed to rooting out investment fraud and holding wrongdoers accountable to protect the financial security of all Americans."
To support his false repayment promise, Glaspie deceptively claimed that he had an exclusive and lucrative contract with AT&T to distribute government‑funded phones, and that an app that he developed was being distributed by the Better Business Bureau and would yield over $400 million in revenue, when he had no such contract or distribution agreement. Furthermore, when the promised sale of CoinDeal did not close, Glaspie transmitted investor funds to Chandran after falsely representing to CoinDeal investors that he would not do so. Glaspie also falsely claimed that he never paid himself with CoinDeal investor funds, when in truth, he misappropriated nearly $2.5 million of victim investments for personal purposes, including trading cryptocurrency, paying his employees' salaries, and buying a life insurance policy for a family member.
"Michael Glaspie admitted today to his involvement in a widespread scheme to defraud investors for his personal benefit," said U.S. Attorney Steven A. Russell for the District of Nebraska. "Thanks to the tireless efforts of our law enforcement partners to untangle this fraud, Glaspie will now be held accountable for this serious crime."
"This case identified a fraudulent online investment scheme that defrauded over 10,000 victims," said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "The subject promised investors high rates of returns then misused investor funds for personal use. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work diligently to identify and pursue those who seek to deceive and defraud the American public."
"This elaborate investment fraud scheme defrauded more than 10,000 victims of over $55 million," said Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI Washington Field Office. "Investment fraud schemes of any type will not be tolerated. The FBI will continue to do what we have done for over 100 years and investigate those who attempt to defraud unsuspecting Americans of their hard-earned money. I would like to thank our partners at FBI offices across the country and the Department of Justice for their work and collaboration to bring justice on behalf of these victims."
Glaspie pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Separately, on June 14, 2022, a federal grand jury in the District of Nebraska returned an indictment charging Chandran with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property for his role in the scheme. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud counts and up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI Washington, Omaha, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles Field Offices are investigating the cases.
Assistant Chief William E. Johnston and Trial Attorney Tian Huang of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald J. Kleine for the District of Nebraska are prosecuting the cases.
All potential investor victims of this fraud are encouraged to visit the webpage https://www.justice.gov/criminal-vns/united-states-v-chandran to identify themselves and obtain more information on their rights, including the opportunity to submit a victim impact statement.