PA man pleads guilty to defrauding WV bank of more than $500,000 in Bitcoin scheme

Crime

WHEELING, W.Va. – A Pennsylvania man has admitted to using a fake Bitcoin statement to defraud a Pendleton County bank out of more than $500,000, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced Tuesday.

Randall Joseph Smail, 23, of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of “Bank Fraud.” Smail defrauded Pendleton Community Bank of approximately $552,533, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Smail created a fictitious account statement from Kraken Bitcoin Exchange, showing he had $640,000,000 in Bitcoin currency that he produced when applying for a loan from the bank, knowing he did not own any Bitcoin currency, according to a news release. He also produced other fictitious paperwork, showing $10,000,000 in another bank that he transferred from his cryptocurrency account, all of which he knew was false. He used these false documents to defraud the bank, Powell’s office said.

Smail faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

The West Virginia State Police investigated the case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Mazzone presided over Tuesday’s plea hearing.

Smail appears to have faced similar charges in 2018.

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