US v. Le Ahn Tuan: second criminal indictment for rug pull involving Baller Ape Club NFTs

  • Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced several criminal indictments for crypto-related crimes, including the second rug pull case.
  • From DOJ’s announcement: “United States v. Le Ahn Tuan: Le Anh Tuan, 26, a Vietnamese national, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering in the Central District of California in connection with a scheme involving the Baller Ape Club, an NFT investment project that purportedly sold NFTs in the form of various cartoon figures, often including the figure of an ape.
  • “According to the indictment, shortly after the first day Baller Ape Club NFTs were publicly sold, Tuan and his co-conspirators engaged in what is known as a “rug pull,ending the purported investment project, deleting its website, and stealing the investors’ money.
  • “Shortly after the rug pull, Tuan and his co-conspirators laundered investors’ funds through ‘chain-hopping,’ a form of money laundering in which one type of coin is converted to another type and funds are moved across multiple cryptocurrency blockchains, and used decentralized cryptocurrency swap services to obscure the trail of Baller Ape investors’ stolen funds. In total, Tuan and his co-conspirators obtained approximately $2.6 million from investors into cryptocurrency wallet addresses under their control.”
  • This is the second indictment brought by federal prosecutors for rug pulls. In March 2022, the US filed an indictment against Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna for an alleged rug pull involving the Frostie NFTs. [Click here for our coverage.]