Serving Franklin County, WA

Sentencing set in cryptocurrency fraud

SPOKANE — A Spokane man will be sentenced in connection with cryptocurrency fraud Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court.

Michael Joseph McElhiney, 37, pleaded guilty to wire fraud June 26 before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice.

In the plea agreement accepted by the court, and in information disclosed during court proceedings, between March 4, 2021, and Sept. 10, 2022, McElhiney defrauded investors by pretending to operate a cryptocurrency investment fund known as MAC Blockchain Solutions.

McElhiney promised prospective investors that he and his purported business partners ran a successful cryptocurrency investment fund that invested in emerging cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based projects, such as Ethereum staking and cryptocurrency liquidity pools, records show.

He typically contacted his victims in person, through dating apps and playing the video game “Call of Duty” under the username Bing Bong, records show.

McElhiney promised he would invest and manage victims’ funds and always promised investors that they could liquidate their investments and get their money back at any time, records show. He sent investors information using a platform called Coin.FYI that purported to track the progress of their investments.

In actuality, McElhiney never invested the funds, records show. Instead, he used them to gamble at area casinos and for personal items.

McElhiney defrauded investors of more than $350,000 in this manner, including defrauding investors not only of cash but rare art and precious metals, records show.

 

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