Crypto fraudster and co-founder of Centra Tech, the defunct Florida-based cryptocurrency firm, was sentenced to eight years in prison over a $36 million crypto ICO scam.
The sentencing of Sohrab “Sam” Sharma comes after he pleaded guilty back in July to the charges of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and securities fraud.
Sharma Defrauded Investors over $36 Million
Sharma’s main charge was defrauding investors of over $36 million by presenting an illegal initial coin offering (ICO). He and his co-defendants Robert Farkas and Raymond Trapani, together founded the defunct Florida-based cryptocurrency firm back in 2017. According to U.S Attorney Ilan Graff, Sharma was the mastermind behind the fraud schemes.
Through his firm Centra Tech, the crypto fraudster further hired high-profile personalities like hip-hop artist DJ Khaled and boxer Floyd Mayweather to attract investors. The two already got into a settlement with the Securities Exchange Commission for failing to disclose that Centra Tech had paid them to promote the ICO launch.
The defunct Florida-based cryptocurrency firm managed to raise close to $25 million during the 2017 – 2018 Centra Tech ICO scam. Sharma and his colleagues had fronted that the firm was headed by a Harvard-educated chief executive officer with years of experience. In the meantime, Sharma and the other two Centra Tech’s founders were enjoying an extravagant life in Miami.
Sharma Says He Wanted to Fake It Till He Made It
During the video conference hearing of the sentencing, Sharma expressed his regret over his actions on the Centra Tech ICO scam. He apologized to those who had believed in his vision, which he maintains at the beginning was a groundbreaking idea. He further added that he was hoping he could fake it till he made it and that the end would justify the means.
Sharma’s counsel had pleaded for two and a half years, claiming that their client was not an evil person. The prosecution, on the other hand, wanted Sharma to serve a full 14 to 15 years. The U.S District Judge Lorna G. Schofield termed the 8-year sentencing as a break considering Sharma’s circumstances.