Cryptocurrency Scammer Used Fictional Seinfeld Company Name

News | June 3, 2024 By:

On Friday, May 17, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York announced that Thomas John Sfraga pled guilty to wire fraud charges related to scamming real estate and cryptocurrency investors.

Sfraga, who also used the alias “T.J. Stone,” bilked over a dozen victims in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Long Island out of more than $1.33 million between 2019-2022. He held himself out as the owner of fraudulent businesses like Vandelay Contracting Corp. and Build Strong Homes LLC. The U.S. Attorney’s office noted that Vandelay was a fictional company mentioned in the TV show Seinfeld.

As “T.J. Stone,” Sfraga portrayed himself as a successful entrepreneur experienced in real estate development, media relations, cryptocurrency podcasting, and hosting crypto events in New York City. He lied to friends and neighbors, fraudulently inducing them to loan or invest money in nonexistent real estate flipping projects and construction jobs. In one scheme, Sfraga solicited $100,000 in cash from a victim for a fake major construction venture.

Sfraga also defrauded an investor by promoting a sham cryptocurrency “virtual wallet” that promised 60% returns within three months. However, instead of using the funds as promised, Sfraga misappropriated the money for personal expenses and to repay earlier victims in a Ponzi-like scheme.

If sentenced to the maximum, Sfraga could face up to 20 years in prison, as well as over $1.33 million in restitution. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office. Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney, stated his office will continue pursuing fraudsters to achieve justice for victims.