Crypto Founder Slapped With 4 Years in Prison for Tax Fraud

Oyster Pearl founder has been sentenced to prison in a $5.5 million tax evasion case.

A man in prison clothes stands in a cell next to two jars full of dollars
  • Oyster Pearl creator has been sentenced to prison.
  • The founder was charged with a multimillion-dollar tax evasion.
  • The development comes after the founder pleaded guilty.

The founder of cryptocurrency project Oyster Pearl, Amir Bruno Elmaani, will be a guest of the state in prison for four years, following court sentencing imposed by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.

The development comes after the Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Elmaani with a multimillion-dollar tax evasion scheme in December 2020. According to the DOJ, Elmaani made millions of dollars from selling “Oyster Pearl” cryptocurrency but failed to report the income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Two years after his arrest, on April 5, 2023, Elmaani pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges.

Elmaani Sentenced to Prison

On October 31, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, announced that Elmaani had received the maximum sentence allowed by statute for the tax offenses he committed in connection with the Pearl token.

According to the press release, as part of his guilty plea, Elmaani admitted that he had caused a tax loss of over $5.5 million after secretly minting and selling “his own gain Pearl cryptocurrency tokens.”

“Amir Elmaani violated the duty he owed to pay taxes on millions of dollars of cryptocurrency profits, and he also violated the trust of investors in the cryptocurrency he founded.  Participants in the cryptocurrency markets must play by the rules, and this Office will be tireless in prosecuting those who do not,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

Based on the DOJ’s allegations, Elmaani was more than just a tax evader; he was a smooth swindler.

The Smooth Swindler

The DOJ noted that through his online pseudonym “Bruno Block,” Elmaani announced in June 2018 that he would retain millions of Pearl tokens as his “ownership stake” in Oyster Protocol and move the tokens to another crypto wallet to “avoid double-taxation.”

But as it turned out, Elmaani never reported or paid tax on his crypto proceeds. To evade tax, Elmaani nominated friends and family to receive and transfer crypto proceeds to his personal accounts.

At some point, Elmaani used the precious metals, gold bars, and huge amounts of cash stored in a safe aboard his private yacht to pay personal expenses.

Read how a crypto exchange founder was sentenced to over 11,000 years in prison:
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Stay updated on how an ex-product manager at OpenSea landed in prison:
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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Brian Danga

Brian Danga, a Kenyan crypto reporter, is dedicated to delivering breaking news and updates from the cryptocurrency world. With a background as a Web3 writer and project manager, he recognizes the importance of unbiased reporting. Holding an LLB degree from the University of Nairobi, Brian's analytical skills contribute to his accurate news reporting. His personal interests include cooking, watching documentaries, reading, and engaging in intellectual discussions.