A Utah man has been charged with seven felonies for his alleged role in several financial fraud schemes, including a cryptocurrency mining scam that bilked two customers out of $1.7 million.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) says James Wolfgramm, 43, of Spanish Fork, Utah, wooed his victims by portraying himself on social media as “a multimillionaire who made his fortune in cryptocurrency.” Indeed, Wolfgramm’s Twitter account, which has 10 followers, declares him to be “one of the most well-known entrepreneurs on the planet” and a “financial advisor that helps more than 10,000 clients each year.”
Wolfgramm is accused by the Justice Department of using images of crypto wallets holding millions of dollars worth of digital assets, a suitcase full of cash and expensive sports cars to lure victims with his supposed investing acumen.
Through one of Wolfgramm’s companies, Bitex, authorities say he convinced two investors to give him $1.7 million by “purporting to sell a high-powered cryptocurrency mining machine – the ‘Bitex Blockbuster’ – that did not actually exist.” Instead, according to the DOJ statement, Wolfgramm used a fake machine in Bitex’s Utah office, which was connected to a monitor that “displayed a pre-recorded loop that simply gave the appearance of mining activity.”
Another one of Wolfgramm’s businesses, Ohana Capital Financial (OCF), allegedly offered financial services to companies that could not get traditional bank accounts, marketed with the slogan “Banking the Unbankable.” Wolfgramm supposedly told investors that OCF had a board of advisers and that customer funds were bonded, when, in reality, he was spending millions of dollars of customer money on “unrelated business expenses.”
Wolfgramm is also accused of a third financial scheme in which he allegedly agreed to purchase an indoor soccer complex outside of Salt Lake City for $15 million. He claimed to have taken possession of the property and began collecting money from customers without ever making a payment to the seller on the sales contract.
Wolfgramm faces five counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.