DOJ seeks extra time for discovery in AirBit Club case
The criminal proceedings targeting the individuals behind fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme AirBit Club continue at the New York Southern District Court.
The proceedings are likely to take more time than initially planned, as indicated by a motion filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) with the Court today.
The Government requests an adjournment of the next status conference, currently scheduled for March 25, 2021, for approximately 60 days. To date, the Government has made voluminous discovery productions, and anticipates making another production shortly. The Government anticipates that it will take at least another 60 days to complete its production of discovery.
Accordingly, the Government requests the Court adjourn the pretrial conference for a period of 60 days, which will allow the authorities to complete production of discovery and defense counsel to review the discovery and consider what, if any, motions they wish to make. The Government consulted with defense counsel for each defendant, who consent to the adjournment.
The DOJ has already secured an extension of 60 days to complete discovery. Apparently, extra time is needed to deal with the heavy volume of evidence in this case.
Let’s recall that, on August 18, 2020, the Department of Justice announced charges against a number of individuals behind AirBit Club. The list included Pablo Renato Rodriguez, Gutemberg Dos Santos, Scott Hughes, Cecilia Millan and Jackie Aguilar.
The defendants participated in a coordinated scheme in which victim-investors were induced to invest in AirBit Club based on the promise of guaranteed profits in exchange for cash investments in club “memberships”. Promoters falsely promised the victims that AirBit Club earned returns on cryptocurrency mining and trading and that the victims would earn passive, guaranteed daily returns on any membership purchased.
Rodriguez, Dos Santos, Hughes, Millan, and Aguilar traveled throughout the United States, and around the world to places in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe, where they hosted lavish expos and small community presentations aimed at convincing investors to purchase AirBit Club memberships.
Hughes, an attorney licensed to practice law in California, had previously represented Rodriguez and Dos Santos in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation related to another investment scheme known as Vizinova before aiding Rodriguez and Dos Santos in perpetrating the AirBit Club Scheme by, among other things, helping to remove negative information about AirBit Club and Vizinova from the internet.
In total, the defendants laundered at least $20 million in proceeds of the scheme through various methods.