A judge sentenced Steve "Li" Chen to ten years of prison for defrauding investors and promoting a cryptocurrency-related gemstone scam worth $147M.
- A U.S. District Judge issued a 10-year federal imprisonment sentence for Steve Chen, a.k.a. "Boss" of Bradbury and other aliases like "Li," who defrauded investors out of $147M in an extensive Ponzi scheme.
- Li Chen acted as the owner and chief executive of U.S. Fine Investment Arts, Inc. (USFIA) and six other companies (registered to USFIA's Arcadia address), according to the Dept. of Justice's statement.
- Chen issued "Gem Coins," a cryptocurrency backed by non-existent assets.
- Between July 2013 to Sept., Chen falsely advertised USFIA as a multi-level marketing company that extracted gemstones from non-existent mines throughout the U.S.
- Chen misled 72,000 investors into buying USFIA investment packages worth between $1,000 to $30,000 each, garnering about $147M from his victims with promises of luxury cars, travel, and accommodations in the Los Angeles area.
- Chen also committed tax evasion, for which the judge ordered him to pay $1.8M to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- Chen's subordinate, Leonard Stacy Johnson, pled guilty in July 2019 for evading taxes and lying on immigration documents.
- Steve Chen also pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges and tax evasion on Feb. 19, 2020.
- The court assigned a receiver to maintain a liquidation process for Chen's victims.