He made his name by showing love to people, but he made his fortune by tearing people apart.
An Instagram META,
An influencer who used videos of himself donating money to the poor to amass more than a million followers has been accused of stealing $8 million from thousands of people through the campaign. Ponzi and crypto fraud.
Jebara Igbara, 27, of Edgewater, NJ, posed online as a grocer named Jay Mazini, showing up at supermarkets and offering discounts on groceries to everyone. In other videos, he walks into fast food restaurants and gives large amounts of money to the people working there.
In one video, he appeared with rapper 50 Cent, handing out money to employees of a Burger King in Queens. A spokesperson for 50 Cent did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Igbara said he did it as a “show of love for the people,” but government prosecutors said his main goal was to make people think he was rich in order to lure them into the type of fraud.
“The defendant has admitted to using his Instagram fame to prey on innocent investors and steal $8 million of their hard-earned money,” said Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York.
Igbara was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
His attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said his client “has accepted responsibility for all of his wrongdoing.”
“He sees the error of his ways, realizes his madness, and wants to move on in his life and save his victims,” Lichtman said.
According to court documents, Igbara targeted members of New York’s Muslim-American community by soliciting investments in stocks, reselling electronics and buying appliances. personal care related to Covid-19.
He promises investors a huge payout in a short period of time, but uses the money to pay for his own expenses and gambling.
To convince people to invest in him, Igbara said he is worth $33 million.
In order to reward some of the investors and keep others on the hook, Igbara admitted that he used social media to target people through the scheme that he was offering to pay the bills. of the top of the market for cryptocurrencies, but not lending. .
Prosecutors said Igbara sent his victims photos of wire transfer confirmations to prove he had paid for their cryptocurrencies when he did not, stealing their money.
In March, Igbara was sentenced to five years in a state prison in New Jersey for kidnapping a rival who threatened to expose him, and sentenced him to unconsciousness and threatened to kill him with a machete.