The United States Attorney’s Office for the Easter District of New York announced this week that Instagram influencer “Jay Mazini”, whose real name is Jegara Igbara, has been charged with wire fraud. The charges were related to a Bitcoin scheme where the social media influencer is alleged to have persuaded his followers to send him the cryptocurrency by dishonestly claiming to have wired cash transfers in exchange for the trade.
In reality, however, Igbara ended up stealing at least $2.5 million worth of Bitcoin from his victims, having never wired them the cash exchange. Until March 2021 “Jay Mazini,” held nearly one million Instagram followers and was known to upload videos of himself generously giving away significant amounts of money as gifts to individuals.
William F Sweeney, Jr., FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge, said:
William F Sweeney, Jr.
As we allege, Igbara’s social media persona served as a backdrop for enticing victims to sell him their Bitcoin at attractive, but inflated, values. There was nothing philanthropic about the Bitcoin transactions Igbara engaged in with his victims. A quick search of the Interwebs today will reveal an entirely different image of this multimillion-dollar scammer.
In January 2021, Igbara started to post videos offering to buy Bitcoin from his followers for prices around 3.5% to 5% above market value, justifying his generous offering by claiming that standard Bitcoin exchanges had limited the amount of the cryptocurrency he was able to purchase. To reassure victims of their transaction legitimacy, Igbara would send images of so-called wire transfer confirmation pages for the promised exchange amounts.
Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney, stated:
Mark J. Lesko Source: LinkedIn
As alleged, Igbara used his immense social media popularity to dupe his followers into selling him Bitcoin. This Office will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to stop fraudsters like the defendant from perpetrating social media scams that prey on innocent victims.
Bank records have suggested that Igbara did not have enough funds in the account identified in wire transfer receipts to cover promised sums. Igbara is at the time of publication being held on state charges in New Jersey and is set to make his initial appearance in the Eastern District of New York in the near future. If convicted, the defendant will face up to 20 years of prison time. His Instagram account and all posts have now been removed.
Experienced writer and journalist, working in the global online trading sector, Steffy is the Editor of LeapRate. She has previous experience as a copywriter and has been with the company since January 2020. Steffy has a British and American Studies degree from St. Kliment Ochridski University in Sofia.