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Press Release

Colorado man pleads guilty in crypto investment fraud scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Colorado man pled guilty today to wire fraud relating to his scheme to fleece investors through a series of misrepresentations and high-pressure tactics.

According to court documents, on Sept. 4, 2023, Robert Wesley Robb, 46, advertised on a social media chat an opportunity to invest in a Maximum Extractable Value (MEV) cryptocurrency trading bot. Robb invited individuals that had “$100-$200k+ sitting around” and wanted to “participate in some next-level MEV stuff” to send him a direct message to learn more.

On Sept. 7, 2023, Investor A, a resident of Brambleton, Virginia, sent a direct message to Robb and discussed the opportunity. Robb told Investor A that the investment must total at least $100,000 and described the MEV bot as capable of delivering very high returns. Robb insisted that Investor A must invest within a “day or two,” because he expected the bot to be operational “soon (likely early next week).”

Robb provided Investor A an Ethereum virtual currency address to send his initial investment and on Sept. 8, 2023, Investor A sent Robb $100,000.

On Oct 27, 2023, Robb falsely told Investor A that a new investor was interested in making a $300,000 investment that would dilute Investor A’s profits, and that he was giving Investor A the chance to make an additional investment to insulate Investor A from dilution. In truth, Robb had already spent Investor A’s initial investment on personal expenses. On Oct. 28, 2023, Investor A sent an additional $50,000 to Robb’s Ethereum virtual currency address.

On Nov. 8, 2023, Robb falsely claimed that the bot had not yet conducted any transactions because it was still “warming up.” Investor A requested a refund from Robb because there were neither any returns nor evidence Robb had created the MEV bot. 

The government’s investigation identified more than ten investors in Robb’s scheme alleging losses totaling more than $2.2 million. Despite Robb’s representations that investor funds would be used as trading capital for the MEV bot, they were funneled instead to Robb’s virtual currency exchange accounts and bank accounts. The vast majority of the funds were used for personal expenses, including airline tickets, vacations, gambling, cars, and other luxury items. For example, Robb used $204,423 to lease an executive suite at the Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium, $117,570 to purchase a 2023 Jeep Wagoneer, and $46,914 to send his girlfriend and her extended family to a resort in the Bahamas.

Robb is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 2 and faces up to 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David J. Scott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office's Criminal and Cyber Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zoe Bedell and Katherine E. Rumbaugh are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:24-cr-141.


Press Officer

Updated June 21, 2024

Financial Fraud