Who is Stefan Qin?
Stefan Qin, a man that must be cursed by his investors. The investors who did invested with him as they were sure that he would be able to pull of 500% returns. They were assured that he would be able to exploit the price gaps of the cryptocurrencies.
Qin is a 24 years old fraudster who has made about more than 100 people his victim and has defrauded $90 million. Qin was able to enjoy a luxury life owing to defrauding. He could earn as much as $23,000 monthly.
Qin is an Australian national. He is a college drop-out and is a founder of Virgil Sigma Fund LP. He started off this venture of fraud in 2017. His company states that they have a market neutral strategy of safe investments.
What has he done?
What has this 24 years old done? Committed fraud with more than 100 people. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, told that the investors who invested with Qin soon realized that Qin was making unauthorized investments with funds he collected.
The victims had no other choice but to write to the Judge. The Judge received more than 12 letters complaining about Qin and how his fraud has impacted their lives. From a women rendering “homeless and destitute” to men giving up their life-long savings, Qin has impacted lives of many!
What punishment has been served to him?
Once Qin was exposed by his victims, they plead for Qin’s severe punishment. On September 16, 2021, the U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni remarked that Qin is a potentially dangerous person. The court awarded him with seven and a half years of imprisonment.
He has chosen a path to defraud others consciously and willingly. For sake of making quick and easy money, he had lured investors by fake account statements. He lied to his investors where there money was being actually used.
The Judge commented that the severity of such white collar crimes is similar to other crimes and thereby such crimes shall be punished severely. Caproni justified the long term imprisonment by saying that such shall discourage others from doing such heinous crimes. Qin had not faced any difficulty in lying to his investors and thereby this is something that needs attention!
“I am Sorry, Qin” to his investors
During the court trail, Qin told the judge he is ashamed of himself and is sorry to his investors. Reading the letters make him feel bad over what he has done as most of the letters are from people he know: family, friends or business associates.
He added that he cannot even look into the eyes of these people and apologize, yet he is sorry.
On briefing that how it all started, he told the court that he is a developer of special trading algorithm called Tenjin. Tenjin is able to earn profits by buying a cryptocurrency on one exchange and selling it at a higher price on another.
Then he started off with Virgil and lured the investors that he could produce annual return of 500%. In 2018, his story of success was covered by The Wall Street Journal as he managed to earn $23.5 million. By 2020,the figure raised to $90 million.
He calls is algorithm the “amazing money making machine.” Yet when people started to question him on his promises, he had to lie. Soon his lies doubled.
Life was like a video game and Qin had the cheat code of it! Yet life is not a game and no cheat code is forever.
As soon as the losses started to pile up, investors demanded their money back and Qin made a last move to save himself. He tried raiding another fund he had started, the VQR Multistrategy Fund LP.
Yet the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in December froze the VQR’s assets.
The debate on the years of imprisonment
Qin flew back to US from South Korea to surrender himself before the authorities and accept all him crimes. His punishment has been reduced from 188 months to 7 and a half years on the recommendation of the probation officials.
Defense lawyers called for yearlong imprisonment as he has surrendered and that he needs time to recover the money.
In a letter one of the victim has plead the judge not to be trapped by Qin’s personality which is charismatic.
Steve Reich added that “He stole over $90 million from ordinary people and has shown no genuine remorse.”