U.S. authorities have arrested the former chief technology officer and co-founder of Blockparty, a blockchain events startup, for allegedly stealing over $1 million of crypto and fiat from the firm.
The Department of Justice unsealed wire fraud charges against Rikesh Thapa, alleging that he stole money held on his firm’s behalf in a personal bank account — a common set-up, given the difficulties crypto firms face getting access to traditional banking — while also embezzling upwards of 10 BTC from Blockparty’s holdings.
The complaint says those funds went to Thapa’s personal expenses that included “nightclubs, travel, and clothing.”
“The defendant repeatedly stole from and defrauded the victim company — which he co-founded — in order to fund a luxurious personal lifestyle,” Michael Driscollaid, the FBI agent in charge, said in a statement.
The FBI says those offenses lasted from December 2017 to September 2019. Thapa’s LinkedIn shows him leaving Blockparty in December 2019. He has subsequently founded VerdeBlocks, a company that promised the ability to switch energy sourcing to renewable using contracts on Hedera.
Thapa faces a single count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
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