News By  Kateryna Salnichenko
Normal 1957 9 Nov 2022
Normal

Insta influencer profited from a Ponzi scheme and a crypto scam

Instagram star Jay Manzini is a scammer. The young man, whose real name is Jebara Igbara, pleaded guilty to organizing fraudulent schemes and misappropriating more than $8 million.

The influencer pleaded guilty to digital asset fraud and money laundering. U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York reported it. Igbara officially confirmed his involvement in criminal schemes targeting the Muslim-American community.

Instagram influencer Jebara Igbara went by the online pseudonym Jay Mazini. He became famous for videos in which he was handing out cash at supermarkets and fast food restaurants. In one video, he appeared with the rapper 50 Cent.

However, spontaneous shows of love to people turned out to be nothing but an attempt to divert the attention of society and law enforcement agencies from fraud. Igbara organized an overlapping scheme whose members lost millions of dollars.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office is currently actively cooperating with the FBI and the The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) to bring the criminal and his accomplices to justice. On November 2, Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District, said: 

“With today’s plea, the defendant has admitted to leveraging his Instagram popularity to prey upon innocent investors and steal at least $8 million of their hard-earned money”.

27-year-old Jebara Igbara ran fraudulent schemes targeting members of the Muslim-American community in New York City. They transferred him personal funds for various purposes - investments in stocks, purchase of Covid-19-related personal protective equipment and the resale of electronics. 

In fact, trusting investors, who fell in love with Instagram star, joined the multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Igbara admitted that he spent almost all the money he received on gambling and personal expenses. The fraudster had to organize a second scheme related to digital assets in order to continue the scheme and accrue profits to investors.

Igbara asked his Instagram followers to transfer him Bitcoin, promising high fees in exchange. He received cryptocurrency from users and sent them fake payment receipts. Of course, no transfer on his part was done.

The fraudster faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced. Thomas Fattorusso, Executive Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) asked investors to remain alert:

This multi-million dollar case is a reminder for anyone thinking of investing: Be skeptical of any investments with larger than life promises, because if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.