New York crypto personality used ‘Seinfeld’ joke in fraud: feds

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New York crypto personality used ‘Seinfeld’ joke in fraud: feds



Jason Alexander as George Costanza.

Maria McCarty | NBCU Photo Bank | NBCUniversal | Getty Images

Yes, yes, yes, this cryptocurrency crook is not laughing now.

A New York man defrauded friends, neighbors and investors out of more than $1.3 million by, among other things, tricking them into investing in fake real estate projects involving a company that was named after a joke in the classic TV comedy “Seinfeld” and a fictional cryptocurrency, Federal prosecutors said Friday.

Thomas John Sfraga, 55, “presented himself as the owner and manager of several companies, including Vandelay Contracting Corp., from 2019 to 2022.” and Build Strong Homes LLC,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn said in a statement.

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“In the TV show ‘Seinfeld,’ the character is George [Costanza] “He falsely claimed that he had applied for a job at the fictitious company Vandelay Industries,” the office noted. As a result, the always unhappy Costanza claims he is looking for a job as a latex salesman.

Sfraga, who adopted the crypto persona “TJ Stone,” presented himself as a serial entrepreneur with experience in real estate development, media relations, podcasting and cryptocurrencies, prosecutors said, including as a host or moderator of cryptocurrency events in New York.

Prosecutors said Sfraga promised victims a return on investment of up to 60% in three months, but in reality used the money for his own benefit “to pay expenses and pay off previous victims and business associates.”

Sfraga, who lives in Brooklyn, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn to wire fraud, prosecutors said.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and is also ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.

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2024-05-17 22:09:25

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