An Australian man who pleaded guilty to securities fraud for cheating investors in his cryptocurrency fund of over $50 million has been sentenced to over seven years in prison

NEW YORK — An Australian man who pleaded guilty to securities fraud for cheating investors in his cryptocurrency fund of over $50 million was sentenced to over seven years in prison Wednesday by a judge who questioned the sincerity of his apology.

U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni in Manhattan imposed the 7 1/2-year sentence Wednesday on Stefan He Qin, 24, who told her he was “absolutely heartbroken” as he read letters from victims about the pain he’d caused investors, including family members, friends and business associates.

“Now I feel ashamed to even look them in the eye and tell them I am sorry, but I must,” he told the judge.

Authorities said the fraud occurred from 2017 to 2020 as Qin operated the fund, called Virgil Sigma.

Caproni noted that there was a charm to Qin, but she also said that a victim of his Ponzi scheme had warned her not to be taken in by his charm. She said that if his contrition were sincere, he’d never be in a courtroom again.

“But if he’s charming me the way he charmed his victims; he’s a real danger because he thinks his needs are more important than everyone else’s,” she added.

She said he deserved a measure of leniency,…

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