Le Anh Traun, the founder of the Baller Apes Club, is facing charges for an alleged rugpull scam. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday, July 1, announced criminal charges against Traun and five others involved in crypto scam cases. If convicted, the Baller Apes Club founder could face up to 40 years in prison. Here’s all you need to know about the alleged Baller Apes Club.
What happened with the Baller Apes Club founder?
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the Baller Apes Club founder has been charged with “one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering”.
This comes after Traun allegedly collected $2.6 million from the Baller Apes Club collectors, only to delete the project’s website. Later, he converted all the funds into different cryptocurrencies, before moving them across multiple blockchains. This is a form of money laundering called “chain-hopping” used to hide the fund trail.
Not the first case against an NFT founder
The Baller Apes Club rugpull is only one among a series of rugpulls that have been plaguing the NFT industry. The list includes Balloonsville, Blockverse, and Bored Cat Club, to name a few. What’s more, in March 2022, the DOJ announced the first case against an NFT founder. At the the time, the department arrested two 20-year-olds behind the Frosties project for an alleged rugpull scam.
“These cases serve as a crucial reminder that some con artists hide behind trendy buzzwords, but at the end of the day they are simply seeking to separate people from their money,” said US Attorney Tracy L Wilkison for the Central District of California. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to educate and protect potential investors about both traditional and trendy investments.”