Kristijan Krstic, a 48-year-old Serbian man, has been extradited to the United States to face charges in two separate indictments in the Northern District of Texas and Eastern District of New York for his alleged involvement in cryptocurrency and binary options schemes. On Feb. 3, Krstic was arrested in Batumi, Georgia, and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) completed the removal of Krstic on Oct. 30.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division expressed her appreciation for the cooperation between the Justice Department and Georgian law enforcement partners in combating transnational organized crime.
In the Northern District of Texas, a federal grand jury indicted Krstic in March 2020 for his role in a scheme that defrauded investors worldwide out of over $70 million through fraudulent cryptocurrency and binary options investment platforms. In July 2020, the indictment was superseded with additional charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton for the Northern District of Texas stated that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will work with law enforcement partners to ensure that cyber-criminals are held accountable, no matter their location.
According to court documents, the defendants created and marketed more than 20 fraudulent cryptocurrency and binary options investment platforms, including Start Options, Trinity Mining, Hedger Tech, BTC Mining Factory, Bitcoin Trading World, Dragon Mining, BTC Trader Online, Crypto Trading World, Go Solar Mining, BTC Falcon, Perpetual Energy, Perfect-Options, Options Rider, Option Giants, Banking Options, Aeon Options, Bancde Options, Instant Options, Fast Options, and Elite Options.
In the Eastern District of New York, a federal grand jury indicted Krstic in February 2021 for his role in a cryptocurrency scheme wherein he is alleged to have solicited U.S. investors through two fraudulent online investment platforms. Start Options and B2G were created and marketed by Krstic as an online investment platform providing cryptocurrency mining and digital-asset trading services, including trading in cryptocurrencies, commodities, stocks, and indices.
Krstic is charged in the Northern District of Texas with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. In the Eastern District of New York, he is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted in either court, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
The FBI Dallas Field Office, the FBI Los Angeles Field Office, and IRS-CI are investigating the case. The government of Georgia, including the Prosecution Service of Georgia, Ministry of Justice of Georgia, and the Ministry of Interior of Georgia, provided assistance in Krstic’s extradition, as did Republika Srpska Police (RS-MUP) and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. USMS transported Krstic from Georgia to the United States.
Trial Attorney Tian Huang of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kaitlin Farrell, Hiral Mehta, and David Pitluck for Eastern District of New York are prosecuting the case, with assistance on forfeiture matters from Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Mantell for the Eastern District of New York. On Jan. 31, John DeMarr, the former Director of North American Operations for Start Options and B2G, was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the scheme.
Krstic made his initial appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and will first face charges there before being transferred to face additional charges in the Eastern District of New York. It is important to remember that an indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.