An Instagram personality known for lending money to strangers in New York pleaded guilty Wednesday to running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme and Bitcoin fraud.
Jebara Igbara, who amassed nearly a million followers as Jay Mazini, entered his guilty plea in Brooklyn Federal Court and could face up to 10 years in prison as part of his plea agreement .
Igbara, 27, took her career online by posting a video showing her handing out money to people waiting in line at grocery stores and working at a fast-food restaurant in Queens. , and a woman he met at an airport who had lost her wallet. , according to a criminal complaint.
“By posting these videos, Igbara created a public image of himself as a wealthy man,” the complaint said.
Igbara admitted to using his company, Halal Capital, to run a Ponzi scheme between 2019 and 2021, taking money from customers but not investing their money. Instead, he paid for his personal expenses, and used the money to blow up his Bitcoin account
In that program, he said to buy Bitcoin, which will increase in value in 2021, above the market value, and said to call his followers a government-backed currency. instead of cryptocurrency.
Between January and March 2021, Igbara offered to pay his students up to $52,000 for one Bitcoin, which at the time had a market value of about $47,000. But Igbara didn’t pay all the Bitcoin sellers he found on Instagram — and he sent fake wire transfers, investigators found.
“Although I received the Bitcoin, I did not pay for it,” Igbara said in a prepared statement to Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo on Wednesday morning.
He agreed to pay one of his students up to $2.56 million for 50 Bitcoins – but the client never took more than $500,000 from him.
He used some of the money from Halal investors to pay a part of his sacrifices in the Bitcoin project, and used the profits of his Bitcoin project to maintain his Halal funds.
“However, I am a human being at the end of the day,” Igbara told the judge. “I have a conscience. … So for the Halal Capital project, I took the money and paid, from A to B.”
Igbara pleaded guilty to wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Igbara could face eight to 10 years in prison, although his most serious charge carries a sentence of 20 years behind bars.
He also agreed to forfeit more than $10 million in property before he was sentenced, as well as pay $5 million in restitution and $500,000 in fines.
“You have to pay all the damages of each victim,” said Kuo.
More, an unrelated prison term in Igbara’s future.
The Edgewater, NJ, resident pleaded guilty in March to kidnapping in New Jersey in exchange for a five-year prison sentence, in an attempt to kill a social media fan and threatening him with a machete, according to NorthJersey.com.
Court filings in New Jersey reveal details of the theft. On March 15, 2021, Igbara reached out to an internet artist, who he suspected was a scam, and asked the person to “go to a coffee shop and talk.”
After the victim got into Igbara’s Range Rover, he found himself surrounded by the midwife and two others. He tried to run away, but was chased, beaten, stripped, threatened with machi and ordered to take down his offensive social media posts and post a video of the encounter online.
His state prison sentence will run concurrently with time served in New Jersey.