A Nevadan who has been accused of wire fraud as well as operating an unlicensed money transmitting service using bitcoin has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison. Morgan Rocknoons, who also goes by the name Morgan Rockwell, had earlier pleaded guilty to both charges.
Besides spending 21 months in jail, will also have to forfeit profits amounting to $80,600 that he generated illicitly. The profits are linked to wire fraud related to land.
Per the sentencing memorandum, Morgan defrauded individuals by selling land he didn’t own. According to Forbes, Morgan only owned 4.9 acres in Nevada but by July last year, he had sold 18 acres. The land was located in Nevada’s Elko County, where Morgan promised a mega city where Bitcoin would be legal tender.
BITCOIN UTOPIA TURNS TO DYSTOPIA FOR VICTIMS
Morgan advertised the purported land development through social media and on his now-defunct website Bitcointopia.org. The parcels of land ranged in size from one to three acres. Prices ranged between 0.5 BTC and 1.5 BTC
The Nevadan allegedly bought the 4.9 acres at a price of $877 per acre. This translates to over 260 percent profit on the land he actually owned. At the time of his arrest on October 29, 2018, bitcoin was trading at around $6,400. An acre would, therefore, have been selling at about $3,200.
According to the sentencing memorandum, there were at least ten people who paid but never received the promised title deeds.
MEGA – MAKE ELKO GREAT AGAIN!
The Nevadan also promised that the purported real estate development would create millions of jobs. Morgan, who tweets under the handle @NODEfather, even touted this fact in a reply to Donald Trump tweet. This was after the U.S. president visited Elko last year during the midterms campaigns. Morgan was arrested nine days later.
Per the sentencing memorandum, Morgan’s unlicensed money transmitting business saw over 1,000 transactions during its existence. It was mainly a peer-to-peer service based in California.
At the height of its success, Morgan was San Diego’s most prolific bitcoin seller and trader. The business was also highly lucrative as for every transaction Morgan charged commissions of
up to 36 per cent.