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Bitcoin Ventures Sued Stojanovich Then Arrest and Guilty Plea Now Gets 3 Years in Jail

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 2 – Bitcoin Ventures 2020 and others sued Chet Stojanovich for scamming them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for cryptocurrency mining equipment. Now Stojanovich disappeared mid-deposition and the plaintiffs want criminal contempt.           

        On March 25, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lewis J. Liman held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.

   Plaintiffs' counsel described a deposition and Stojanovich stepping out to his rental car to get documents but never coming back. They said he should be arrested by the Marshals. 

  Judge Liman pointed out that a hearing was necessary, and convened one for April 11 at 10 am.

 He asked if Stojanovich understood the risk of criminal contempt (Stojanovich appeared by phone, citing weak 3G service, strange for a crypto miner).

On April 11, Inner City Press went to Judge Liman's courtroom - but Stojanovich did not, instead calling in and speaking at length over a speaker phone about his allergies and the brand of his cell phone.

  There were arguments by John F. Harwick of  the firm Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, down by Amtrak.

  Judge Liman, fresh off the US v. Larry Ray trial, ordered Stojanovich to pay $1000 a day to the Clerk of Court for contempt, to provide all requested information and to appear on May 3 at 3 pm. Transcript on Patreon here.

On April 19, he was arrested on the Canadian border: "arrest today of CHET STOJANOVICH, a/k/a “Chester J. Stojanovich,” on charges of defrauding more than a dozen victims of more than $1.8 million, through fraudulent misrepresentations that he would provide the victims with specialized cryptocurrency-mining computers (“Miners”), and that he would provide Miner-hosting services that would provide the victims with a lucrative stream of “hash power” convertible into cryptocurrency.  Instead, as alleged, STOJANOVICH deceived his victims, misappropriated his victims’ money, and provided them with almost no Miners, Miner-hosting services, or hash power.  The defendant was arrested early this morning after crossing from Canada into the United States at Champlain, New York."

Then it was said that the May 3 hearing in the civil case would be by phone: "Plaintiffs' counsel has informed the Court that Defendant Stojanovich has been criminally charged for claims arising out of the transactions at issue in this civil proceeding and that Defendant Stojanovich is currently detained as he has not yet made bail. See Dkt. Nos. 83-84; see also USA v. Stojanovich, 22-mj-03298 (S.D.N.Y.). It is hereby ORDERED that the in person contempt hearing scheduled for May 3, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. shall proceed as a telephonic hearing."

 Inner City Press was present - but neither party, apparently, was. Judge Liman ordered: "ORDER re: [87] Letter filed by Alex Holmes. Plaintiffs are ordered to show cause by May 10, 2022 why this case should not be stayed during the pendency of the criminal case against Defendant Stojanovich."

Jump cut to November 29, 2022 - after a stay in a hospital in California and some medically-related filing, Chet Stojanovich came before District Judge Denise L. Cote to plead guilty. Inner City Press was there, thread:

OK - now at crypto fraud guilty plea of Chet Stojanovich, Inner City Press was covering the civil case against him  before this criminal case overtook it

Chet Stojanovich says his feet and tongue get numb. He's found competent to plead guilty to wire fraud - getting crypto for illusory crypto mining (which judge defines).

Max term of 20 years - but plea agreement to be unveiled soon

drum roll.... Plea agreement is dated Nov 22, 6 pages, signed on Nov 28. The agreed sentencing guideline is 41 to 51 months. He says he led clients to believe he had crypto mining computers that he didn't have, and kept their money / crypto. Guilty plea accepted

 Sentencing is set for March 2 at 2 pm. Defense memo is sure to be medical jargon heavy; AUSA asks for extra days to respond.

Jump cut again to the sentencing on March 2, 2023. Inner City Press was in the courtroom. He was sentenced to 36 months to begin April 7. Judge Cote recommended "California;" the Federal Defender pointed out it's a large state. I know, Judge Cote said, adding it was to allow BOP flexibility to address the defendant's mental as well as physical issues. He is the son of producer of the Cops TV show, his brother's letter recounted.

 Afterward the Federal Defender and Chet, and two others from in the gallery, walked west on Pearl Street toward Foley Square. It's been a long ride.

Inner City Press will stay on these cases.

The civil case is Holmes et al v. Chet Mining Co, LLC et al., 20-cv-4448 (Liman)

The criminal case is US v. Stojanovich, 22-cr-339 (Cote)


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