John DeSalvo, a 47-year-old former corrections officer from Upper Township, was arrested Wednesday on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, DeSalvo is accused of defrauding first responders of over $600,000 and soliciting around $100,000 from members of an online investment group.
In 2021 DeSalvo allegedly created the Blazar Token, which he marketed to first responders on social media, claiming it would supplement their pension plans. He reportedly misled potential investors by suggesting the token was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission and that it could be purchased on major exchanges.
After receiving approximately $620,000 from investors, DeSalvo allegedly transferred the funds to his personal accounts. In May 2022 DeSalvo sold more than 41 billion tokens, causing their value to drop from $1,000 to $1.15.
At the same time, DeSalvo is said to have created an online investment group and falsely boasted about his investing skills, claiming he had an average return of 1,200% over two years. He allegedly received $100,000 from group members before shifting the money to his own accounts and telling investors their losses were due to poor market conditions.
The funds withdrawn by DeSalvo were used to pay for personal expenses, cryptocurrency day trading, credit card bills, and payments to contractors and previous investors. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission submitted a civil complaint against him on Wednesday.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger expressed his dismay: “This defendant is alleged to have committed two brazen investment fraud schemes in which he falsely promised huge returns to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting investors.”