Seattle rugby player's cryptocurrency scheme defrauded investors for years, prosecutors say

A Seattle semi-pro rugby player has been charged with wire fraud stemming from a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle charged 36-year-old Shane Donovan Moore with nine counts of wire fraud in connection to a years-long crypto scam. According to prosecutors, Moore ran a company called ‘Quantum Donovan LLC’ that promised investors he was buying and operating cryptocurrency mining equipment.

In reality, the indictment claims Moore operated a Ponzi scheme.

"Cryptocurrency investors can fall victim to all the same fraud tactics as any investor. Mr. Moore used a ‘Ponzi scheme,’ – a fraud that has been around for decades - and uses new investor money to pay off older investors until the scheme collapses," said U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman. "So far, investigators have identified 38 known victims but believe there could be many more. We urge any such investors to contact the FBI."

Between Jan. 2021 and Oct. 2022, Moore is accused of swindling investors in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Connecticut and New Jersey — many of whom were people he knew through playing rugby.

According to prosecutors, Moore promised investors he would use their money to buy computers for crypto mining, and said they would get back 1% of their investment back every day based on the mining output.

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Moore allegedly never bought those computers and instead used investor money to fund a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors say. Other funds were used to purchase crypto; investigators found that Moore bought some $820,000 in crypto, then transferred more than $1 million in crypto from his account to others. Later investor funds were used to pay off earlier investors, giving the illusion of a working crypto-mining operation, prosecutors say.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.