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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Northwestern PA Brothers Indicted in Cryptocurrency Investment Scheme

ERIE, Pa. - Two residents of Pennsylvania have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

The 65-count Indictment named Shane Hvizdzak, 33, of Bradford, Pennsylvania and Sean Hvizdzak, 35, of Saint Marys, Pennsylvania, as defendants.

According to the Indictment presented to the court, the defendants conspired to defraud investors in a limited partnership that was represented as an investment in cryptocurrency. Investor funds were not invested in the manner represented to investors but were rather diverted into the defendants’ personal accounts and provided to entities having nothing to do with cryptocurrency. The defendants also provided false information about the purported investment’s performance to induce new investors to become involved and also lull those investors who had already become involved into a false sense of security. The funds of subsequent investors were also provided to initial investors and misrepresented as returns on their investment.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 810 years in prison, a fine of $12,500,000, or both for Shane Hvizdzak and a maximum total sentence of 550 years in prison, a fine of $7,000,000 or both for Sean Hvizdzak. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated August 12, 2021