Instagram star “Jay Mazini” is facing years behind bars.
The 25-year-old influencer—legal name Jebara Igbara—has been charged with wire fraud for allegedly cheating his followers out of $2.5 million worth of Bitcoin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced the charges in a press release Wednesday, claiming Mazini had tricked the victims into sending him the cryptocurrency in exchange for cash wire transfers; however, prosecutors say Maznini never paid the sellers.
Per the complaint:
[Mazini] began using his social media accounts, specifically his accounts on Twitter and Instagram, to post offers to buy Bitcoin at above-market prices. For example, on or about February 14, 2021, [Mazini] posted to his Instagram an offer to buy Bitcoin at $52,500. On that day, the market price for Bitcoin ranged from approximately $47,105 to $59,0716. Additionally, on or about February 17, 2021, [Mazini] posted to his Instagram an offer to buy Bitcoin 3.5% to 5% above its current market.
Once the victims agreed to the transaction, Mazini allegedly sent documentation that falsely confirmed the purported wire transfers; however, the promised transfers never arrived. Furthermore, federal officials say bank records show the influencer didn’t have sufficient funds in the account identified in the transfer receipt. The alleged scheme reportedly took place between January and March of 2021.
“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,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. said in a press release. “A behind-the-scenes look, however, revealed things aren’t always as they seem. 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… If anyone out there has information about this case, we urge you to file a complaint online at tips.fbi.gov.”
Mazini’s Instagram account has apparently been deactivated. The influencer is known for financial content and a number of viral stunts, including the time he and 50 Cent handed out $30,000 at an NYC Burger King.
Mazini faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.