US authorities have charged three individuals for their roles in a massive crypto asset pyramid scheme that amassed over $1.7 billion globally. Sam Lee, a 35-year-old Australian residing in Dubai, stands accused of co-founding HyperFund, also known as HyperTech, HyperCapital, HyperVerse, and HyperNation. The indictment, unsealed recently, also charges Rodney Burton, 54, based in Miami, and Brenda Chunga, 43, from Maryland, for promoting HyperFund.
The suspects allegedly promoted HyperFund “membership” packages, promising investors high returns from June 2020 to early 2022. HyperFund claimed these returns would be generated through profits from large-scale crypto-mining operations. However, authorities assert that HyperFund’s operations were nothing more than a pyramid scheme, with Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, stating, “The only thing that HyperFund mined was its investors’ pockets.”
The collapse of the HyperFund scheme in 2022 left investors unable to make withdrawals. The legal complaint alleges that the suspects were well aware or showed reckless disregard for the fact that HyperFund functioned as a pyramid scheme, lacking a genuine revenue stream beyond investors’ funds. US Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland emphasized the magnitude of the alleged fraud, cautioning against falling for financial schemes that sound too good to be true.