Instagram influencer Jay Mazini pleads guilty to Ponzi scheme

A New Jersey Instagram influencer known for his luxurious lifestyle and cash freebies was ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution to the victims of his moneymaking schemes after a guilty plea in a federal fraud case on Wednesday.

Jay Mazini, 27, an Edgewater resident whose real name is Jebara Igbara, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. money as part of a bitcoin scheme.

The social media star rose to fame by posting videos of himself handing out large sums of cash to strangers, including fast food workers and Walmart customers. He appeared with famous rappers in promotional videos, including 50 Cent and Fabolous. In reality, Mazini was running multiple fraud schemes, defrauding investors of at least $8 million, federal investigators said.

Mazini, who faces up to 20 years in prison for fraud, is currently being held in Passaic County Jail in connection with a brutal kidnapping last year.

In March 2021, federal investigators charged Mazini with using his influence to dupe his followers into selling him bitcoin as well as defraud investors of his company Halal Capital.

In court, he admitted to defrauding members of an American Muslim community in New York, luring them with promises of profitable “halal” investments. Halal means permitted according to Islamic teaching. He told investors he would buy items such as hand sanitizer, electronics and medical masks in bulk and resell them for a profit. Instead, he used the money for personal expenses and gambling, investigators said.

To raise funds to repay investors, he created a bitcoin scheme offering to pay above-market prices for cryptocurrencies in January and February 2021. He would then send forged images of bank transfer confirmations, falsely claiming that he had sent a payment.

Related:Wife of Instagram influencer Jay Mazini unearthed judge’s information as a perceived threat, court hears

“All of the victims in this case were promised something that was too good to be true,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. for a while, while victims of the bitcoin advance fee system were guaranteed above the current market value of their bitcoin.

“This multi-million dollar deal is a reminder to anyone considering investing: be skeptical of any investment with larger-than-life promises, because if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. .”

The Masjid Al-Ansar Mosque is one of the places where influencer Jay Mazini, real name Jebara Igbara, has targeted his scam victims.  Mazini recently pleaded guilty to wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering.

Mazini was ordered to pay $5.12 million in restitution for the bitcoin scheme and an additional $5.1 million in forfeiture.

He should also pay additional restitution as part of the Halal Capital charges, prosecutor Lauren Elbert said. The sum will be determined at his sentencing hearing.

“Unfortunately, I am a human being at the end of the day,” Mazini told the judge.

Mazini is also facing lawsuits in connection with his Halal Capital business.

Elbert said the government was seeking a sentence of eight to 10 years in prison. Each charge has no minimum sentence but carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, said Eastern District of New York Judge Peggy Kuo. Judge Frederic Block will be in charge of sentencing Mazini. The sentencing date was not announced during the plea hearing.

In March, Mazini pleaded guilty to kidnapping a Wayne man who accused him of fraud in online comments and videos. The victim was stripped naked, beaten and threatened with a machete, according to the police. Mazini reached a deal with prosecutors for a five-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of first-degree kidnapping, authorities said.

The victim, Amjad Mashal, is being held in the Bergen County Jail, accused of accepting a bribe to drop the charges.

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