The founder of a defunct cryptocurrency exchange has been arrested for allegedly lying to financial watchdogs to cover up a heist of 6,000 bitcoin.
Federal prosecutors in New York charged Jon Montroll, the 37-year-old founder of BitFunder, on Wednesday with obstruction of justice and two counts of perjury. Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a lawsuit against the Texas resident for running a non-compliant exchange, according to a Bloomberg News report.
“As alleged, the defendant repeatedly lied during sworn testimony and misled SEC staff to avoid taking responsibility for the loss of thousands of his customers’ bitcoin,” Geoffrey Berman, Manhattan US Attorney, said.
In July 2013, hackers swiped what would now be worth $60 million of bitcoin from BitFunder, prosecutors said. The heist left the company without enough crypto to cover what users were owed. When questioned under oath by the SEC, Montroll falsely denied the hacking was successful, saying that a technical issue had halted withdrawals. Montroll said those issues were fixed “immediately,” according to prosecutors.
Exchange heists have long plagued the cryptocurrency world, as noted by a wide-ranging note on blockchain and bitcoin by JPMorgan.
“It is estimated that a third of bitcoin trading platforms have been hacked and these cyber theft/hackers took over $630 million in bitcoins,” the bank said.