BOSTON - A 29-year-old Northborough man was sentenced on Tuesday, April 13 in federal court in Worcester for assisting in fraud schemes which targeted elderly victims and agreeing to launder the proceeds from the schemes and other criminal activity, totaling more than $600,000.
Austin Nedved was sentenced to 97 months and 17 days in prison (12 months of which is to run consecutively to a sentence Nedved is serving for a separate fraud conviction in the Eastern District of Kentucky), three years of supervised release and restitution of $569,750. Nedved pleaded guilty in federal court to aiding and abetting wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy on Thursday, December 17, 2020.
Nedved admitted that from at least 2017 through 2019, Nedved aided and abetted romance and lottery schemes targeting vulnerable victims.
In romance schemes, a scammer targets victims to send money abroad to people they believe to be romantic interests, while in lottery schemes victims are convinced that they can obtain lottery winnings or sizeable government grants by forwarding cash for administrative fees or expenses to the fraudsters.
Despite knowing or being willfully blind to the fact that his customers were fraud victims, Nedved sold Bitcoin to them so they could send money overseas to the fraudsters.
On June 25, 2018, in a parking lot in Kittery, Maine, a victim gave Nedved a cashier’s check to purchase approximately $100,000 in bitcoin. Nedved then released approximately $100,000 in Bitcoin, less his commission, to a Bitcoin wallet controlled by unidentified third parties. On June 29, 2018, in Leominster, Nedved and a co-conspirator took another $40,000 from a victim.
Nedved and co-conspirators, in exchange for payment, converted to Bitcoin more than $630,000 in cash that they received from others, knowing that the cash are proceeds of romance and lottery scams and other unlawful activities.
The charges of aiding and abetting wire fraud provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the financial transactions that were the object of conspiracy.