BitConnect investor “detained, threatened and interrogated by the FBI”
Things are getting serious for BitConnect’s top promoters, as “Crypto Clover” found out upon returning to the US.
Crypto Clover (real name: Calen Powell), promoted BitConnect through his YouTube channel until it collapsed.
How much money Powell stole from BitConnect victims is unclear. Powell refers to himself as a “crypto nomad”, having sold most of his assets in the US earlier this year.
Powell travels across South East Asia, however he still returns to Seattle, Washington from time to time.
Powell’s latest visit home caught the attention of the FBI, suggesting there might be a federal BitConnect “person of interest” watchlist.
Refusing to acknowledge BitConnect was a Ponzi scheme perpetrated through securities fraud, Powell insists
[00:45] All of the threats were baseless and not based on anything in law.
To be clear, the Securities Act was passed into law in the US back in 1933.
In any event, as to what happened to Crypto Clover when he stepped off his plane;
[00:12] Basically as soon as I got off the plane I got detained by the border immigration control.
I was “randomly selected” for some sort of search, where they go through all my belongings and what not.
They seized all my electronics and basically scanned them.
(They) were like threatening me with some stuff.
Powell later learned that one of his interrogators was an undercover FBI agent.
[00:57] There was a guy in that room that didn’t identify himself at first and then, turns out later he’s an FBI agent.
So I got really upset with this guy and he ended up leaving and then like three FBI agents came in… and basically said they want to talk to me about BitConnect.
They were basically threatening to detain me, or y’know… they were asking a lot of different questions. And so I was kinda explaining some stuff to them about cryptocurrency.
As with Trevon James and the South Carolina Securities Division, it seems Powell believes regulators are ignorant when it comes to cryptocurrency.
Powell states that in order to seize his cryptocurrency, the FBI would have to “hack entire networks”.
Not so. All the FBI has to do is obtain a court order directing Powell to hand over his ill-gotten cryptocurrency assets.
If he fails to comply the FBI then files a contempt motion, with continued non-compliance leading to fines, detention and even imprisonment.
At some point during his interrogation, Powell learned of other BitConnect suspects the FBI is looking into.
[2:45] It was interesting like to see the people they had on their radar. The people they were investigating or looking at.
They’re gonna go after CryptoNick, like a seventeen year-old kid making cryptocurrency videos… it’s a joke.
CryptoNick, aka Nicholas Trovato, was one of BitConnect’s top promoters.
Trovato is believed to have stolen millions from victims through promotion of BitConnect on YouTube.
Since BitConnect collapsed, Trovato has gone into hiding.
We’ll give Crypto Clover the benefit of the doubt on this one, but still point out that there’s no exemption for age with respect to securities fraud.
The good news is that instead of continuing to talk out of his ass, Powell states he’ll be talking to lawyers on Monday “to get information”.
Hopefully one of the attorneys can brief him on securities fraud, including the illegality of promotion and profiting off of unregistered securities.
To what extent Crypto Clover is a person of interest in the FBI’s BitConnect investigation is unclear.
It appears the agency isn’t done with him, with Powell stating he’ll be cooperating with the FBI going forward.
Powell also suggests his past might serve as leverage for the FBI in their investigation.
[04:06] I do have a legal past… so they know about that.
The FBI… the ability for them… the information they have access to and the things that they can get from me…
They just have a lot of information that they can pull on me. They know about my history, my past already… if they’ve done their due-diligence.
Powell doesn’t elaborate on his past. He does confirm though that as of yet he hasn’t been contacted by the SEC.
Powell also confirms that the FBI seized all the cash and electronic devices he attempted to enter the US with.
[8:21] So I’m gonna be talking with the FBI now and dealing with them a little bit.
Hopefully they don’t block my passport and not allow me to leave the country.
But I tell you what man, when I leave the country I don’t know if I’m coming back for a long, long time.
[15:10] I think maybe what I want to do is maybe look at like getting a second passport.
I know Glenn (Arcaro) did that. Glenn was getting a second, maybe even a third passport – so at least you can travel if you have some sort of restriction on your US passport.
So I’d like to do that at some point.
Taking a step back, one common theme I’m seeing with crypto scammer’s dealings with regulators is the misguided notion of superior knowledge.
“These guys don’t know anything…”, “I can’t believe they asked me that lulz…”, “I had to school these clowns on what cryptocurrency is…” and so forth.
The concept of playing dumb and letting a suspect hang themselves seems entirely lost on these people.
[5:45] The things I was telling them about, were things that if you were in BitConnect, like you know all of this stuff.
Like you know some of the people that were involved. You know some of these things. You could look them up on YouTube.
So the information I was giving them was all public. It’s all stuff that’s already kind of known.
Fair play to the FBI and SEC though, using the superiority complex of crypto scammers against them is brilliant.
Everything is recorded and everything is able to be reproduced in court against you when the time comes.
As the noose closes in, top US BitConnect investor Glenn Arcaro must be shitting bricks…
And speaking of people likely to be shitting bricks;
Hell, I can’t remember the last time popcorn tasted so good.
Update 14th August 2018 – This article originally included a copy of Calen Powell’s FBI interrogation YouTube video.
As of August 14th, Powell has removed the video from his Crypto Clover YouTube channel.