In the end, Bruce Bise and Samuel Mendez bilked some 13,000 investors out of about $24 million before pleading guilty to tax evasion earlier this week.

Since 2016, Bise and Mendez billed Bitqyck, a Dallas-based cryptocurrency company, as a way for “those individuals who missed out on bitcoin” to still get rich, according to marketing materials.

Investors were hooked. The pair promised that Bitqy, the name for the cryptocurrency their company traded, came with a one-tenth share in the company’s stock.

Bise and Mendez instead used those funds to buy cars, luxury homes and high-end art. The two retained 100% of the company’s stock.

In just two years after their fraudulent initial public stock offering in 2016, Bise and Mendez collected roughly $9.4 million in shareholder investments, which they used to fund their lush lifestyles.

The duo’s grift didn’t stop with Bitqy.

After launching Bitqy in 2016, Bise and Mendez launched another token called BitqyM, for $1 per unit. They told investors that by purchasing BitqyM tokens, they were joining a cryptocurrency mutual group: A bitcoin facility in Washington state focused on buying and selling the cryptocurrency at supposedly optimal moments according to its fluctuating market value would yield…

Read more…