US$2.5 million in Bitcoin: Instagram star bounces followers

US$2.5 million in Bitcoin: Instagram star bounces followers

Bitcoin and social media. Are these the perfect ingredients for a scam? At least that’s what influencer Jay Mazini thought.

Social media star Jay Mazini is facing charges. Investigators accuse the US-American Instagramer of large-scale fraud. By making false statements, Mazini allegedly relieved his followers of bitcoin worth 2.5 million US dollars.

Mazini, whose real name is Jegara Igbara, had BitQT one million followers on Instagram. According to the FBI, he offered to buy Bitcoin from his followers at “attractive but inflated prices”. However, he did not pay the equivalent value. If convicted, Mazini faces up to 20 years in prison. His social media pages have already been taken offline.

(Not) a philanthropist

Mazini made a name for himself on Instagram as a philanthropist. He won his followers with videos in which he surprised strangers with cash and other gifts. At the beginning of January, he then went on a bitcoin hunt via social media. Here, too, the influencer presented himself as kind-hearted. After all, he offered his followers prices that were up to five percent above the market value. Mazini explained that he could only buy a limited amount of BTC on crypto exchanges. Meanwhile, the FBI agent in charge of the case, William F. Sweeney, sees other motives at work:

A look behind the scenes, however, showed that things are not always as they seem. There was nothing philanthropic about the Bitcoin transactions Igbara carried out with his victims. A quick search on the internet today reveals a very different picture of this multi-million dollar fraudster.

According to investigators, Mazini sent his victims fake screen shots with supposed transfer receipts. The money never reached the victims, who then dropped their BTC. One follower is said to have fallen for the scam particularly bitterly. According to court documents, Mazini took bitcoin worth 750,000 US dollars from him. The FBI is asking for further tips.

Social media and the bitcoin scam

Mazini is certainly not the only fraudulent shark in the social media pool. Bitcoin scammers, con artists and hackers of all stripes have taken advantage of YouTube, Twitter and the like over the years to give Hodler a good bounce.

On the one hand, there are celebrities like John McAfee and Steven Seagal. Both had drummed up publicity for dubious ICOs; without disclosing their fee contracts, of course. In his usual manner, McAfee went one step further in terms of crypto-scam. He used his Twitter reach for a time-honoured pump-and-dump scheme. To his followers, McAfee advertised various altcoins that he had previously stocked up on. When the price rose, he sold the coins at a profit. He now also faces up to 20 years in prison.

Also remembered are the Twitter hacks of 2020, when cyber criminals gained access to high-reach accounts such as those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos and Kanye West. There they advertised a dream offer: Anyone who sent them Bitcoin would receive double the amount back. Or nothing at all. The scam was also a dubious success on YouTube.