Wisconsin Man Files $7M Lawsuit Against Anonymous Cryptocurrency Scammers

News | April 16, 2024 By:

On Tuesday, April 2, 2024, Dennis Keplin, a Wisconsin resident, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin against four unnamed individuals, referred to as John Does #1-4.

According to the complaint, Keplin became interested in investing in cryptocurrency in 2021. In May of that year, he was first contacted on Instagram by individuals using the aliases “Sarah,” “Sophia,” “Ann,” and “Phillipi Herbert.” They continued communicating with Keplin on WhatsApp and Telegram, encouraging him to trade cryptocurrency on websites they claimed to operate, including wap.ameritrbp.com, Bitmartch, and Kine Protocol.

Keplin alleges he was lured in with promises of lucrative returns through exploiting unique trading algorithms and data available on the websites. He created accounts and began transferring bitcoin, ether, and tether from his existing cryptocurrency wallets at Exodus, Coinbase, and Crypto.com to wallets provided by the defendants. Over the next year and a half, Keplin made 69 separate transfers totaling over 117 bitcoin and 2.4 million USDT, which he claims was worth approximately $7.1 million at the time.

However, Keplin says he was unable to withdraw any funds from the trading websites, which he has since discovered were fraudulent. Through investigators, he found his cryptocurrency assets were not directly routed to an exchange as represented, but moved through intermediary digital addresses in a pattern consistent with known scams.

Ultimately, blockchain transaction records allegedly show the funds from Keplin’s transfers ending up in 19 different wallet addresses held at major centralized cryptocurrency exchanges Binance, OKX, and Coinbase. These exchanges allow users to sell cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies like U.S. dollars, potentially cashing out the stolen digital assets.

In his complaint, Keplin alleges the defendants engaged in cryptocurrency securities fraud and deceptive practices in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act as well as Wisconsin state laws. He is seeking recovery of the cryptocurrency assets totaling over $7 million that were allegedly stolen through the scam and deposited into the wallet addresses tracked to Binance, OKX, and Coinbase.

Given the anonymity of cryptocurrency and blockchain transactions, Keplin has filed the complaint against the anonymous John Doe defendants while cryptocurrency investigators continue working to ascertain their true identities. Additional details like phone numbers, email addresses, and domain registration information associated with the fake exchange websites may provide clues to unmask the perpetrators through subpoenas of communication records and Internet records.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.