Blockchain Entrepreneur Arrested in California on Fraud Charges
- December 8, 2022
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Prosecutors have accused Rikesh Thapa of stealing over $1 million in U.S. currency, cryptocurrency and utility tokens from his own startup company.
According to a press release issued Wednesday, the Justice Department alleges that Rikesh Thapa defrauded his start-up tech company of more than $3 million in U.S. currency, cryptocurrency, and utility tokens.
On Wednesday, March 6, Xuesen was arrested in California and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California has charged him with disruption of interstate commerce by extortion; conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse; intentional damage to a protected computer; and attempted transmission of malicious code
The Justice Department didn’t name the victim company, but it appears to be New York-based Block Party Tickets, a company that developed a blockchain-based protocol for live event tickets. The LinkedIn profile for Thapa says he was a co-founder of the technology company from October 2017 to December 2019. The indictment lists him as a co-founder and notes he is currently CEO of crypto firm BitOverflow, co-founder of renewable-energy firm VerdeBlocks, and co-founder of grocery delivery service Bazaar.
According to the indictment, Thapa agreed to hold his company’s money in his personal bank account while they explored other banking options. After a few weeks, Thapa began making personal purchases such as nightclubs, travel and clothing from the cash. Despite assuring the company that he was only holding it for safekeeping, the indicted revealed a different story.
Thapa falsified bank statements even though he was stealing money. In 2019, he’s accused of refusing to return $1 million.
The San Diego native is also accused of stealing 10 bitcoins (BTC) from his company as well as stealing its utility tokens.
Thapa is being indicted on one count of wire fraud, which could result in a 20-year prison sentence.
Thapa did not respond to a request for comment.
Update (10/07/17 11:33 am EST): The author has updated the entry to reflect current LinkedIn listings.
UPDATE (Dec. 7, 23:48 UTC): Added the name of the company and added a non-response from Thapa.
We updated the name of the company to Block Party Tickets and added a note from Thapa.