Former Investment Banker and Registered Broker Pleads Guilty to Cryptocurrency Investment Fraud Scheme
Earlier today, before United States District Court Judge Dora L. Irizarry in Brooklyn, Andrew Tepfer pleaded guilty to participating in a money laundering conspiracy designed to avoid paying a multi-million dollar court-ordered restitution judgment compensating victims of a securities fraud scheme. When sentenced, Tepfer faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine in an amount to be determined by the court.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the guilty plea.
“With today’s guilty plea, Tepfer has been held responsible for his participation in a money laundering scheme to hide funds derived from a brazen shakedown,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office will vigorously prosecute those who flout court orders and exploit victims.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation for their assistance with the investigation.
According to court filings, in 2011 and 2012, Tepfer and another individual (“John Doe”) pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. At their sentencing proceedings in 2014, they were ordered to pay approximately $12.7 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme. Thereafter, in February 2017, Tepfer’s co-conspirator Mark Weissman told John Doe that incriminating information about him would be provided to law enforcement unless he paid $6 million to Tepfer. Weissman and his co-conspirators then planned how to have John Doe make the payment in a manner that would prevent it from being seized by law enforcement authorities seeking to enforce the court’s restitution order. In June 2019, Weissman pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding and was sentenced in January 2020 to four years’ probation, 300 hours of community service and a $45,000 fine.
At his guilty plea proceeding today, Tepfer admitted that he conspired with others to conduct international financial transactions designed both to funnel funds that he believed were the proceeds of the earlier securities fraud back to himself, and to conceal the source of those funds.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Reilly is in charge of the prosecution.
ANDREW TEPFER (also known as "Avi Tepfer")
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-524 (DLI)
United States Attorney’s Office