The scam was allegedly orchestrated by Subhash Sharma, who has not been apprehended. This particular fraud was uncovered in September, but has been ongoing since as long ago as 2018.
One also might think that a company embroiled in constant racism accusations might be cautious about screening its employees.
Neither of these things happened, though, and someone dug up vile tweets by Shpend Salihu, better known as NGBxShpend. Salihu resigned shortly after the tweets came to light, writing that they had "become a distraction from the [Bored Ape Yacht] Club and what we're all about."
The going theory is that event organizers skimped on lighting costs by using UV lights intended for sanitization, not for entertainment, causing burns to the eyes and skin. The eye condition, photokeratitis, is better known as "snow blindness" or "welder's flash", as it more typically affects people who haven't worn proper eye protection while welding or while exposed to sunlight reflected from ice and snow.
Several attendees reported having to seek emergency medical treatment after experiencing excruciating eye pain and vision problems, and tweet threads began circulating giving various other ApeFest attendees advice on recovering from the painful condition.
Bored Ape creator Yuga Labs belatedly issued a tweet two days after the incident, claiming only a small fraction of attendees had experienced "eye-related issues", but encouraging anyone with symptoms to "seek medical attention just in case".
Sentencing is scheduled for March 28, 2024, though scheduling could be affected by factors including whether the US decides to continue pursuing an additional five charges also set to be tried in March.
The other person with access to the wallet is a former Monero developer named "fluffypony", or Ricardo Spagni. He surrendered to US authorities in July 2023 for extradition to South Africa, where he has been charged with invoice fraud against a cookie company (think chocolate chip, not software). However, he was released in late September, and has been working to "address this matter" while free but under court supervision.
SafeMoon promised buyers it would "safely go to the moon" by locking the liquidity pool so that its developers couldn't rug pull. In reality, the "locking" didn't prevent the developers from removing tokens from the liquidity pool in other ways, which they did to the tune of millions of dollars. They then spent the proceeds of their crimes on personal expenses, like luxury sports cars and real estate.
Alongside the charges from the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission simultaneously brought a lawsuit against the SafeMoon executives for violating registration and anti-fraud provisions of securities laws.
Now they're on the hook for $1.375 million in profits they earned from their copycat project and $200,000 for domain cybersquatting violations. They also must transfer control of two domain names, two Twitter accounts, and the RR/BAYC smart contract. Worse yet, the court found that this was an "exceptional case" because of the defendants' behavior, which included being "obstructive and evasive", and "unnecessarily and inappropriately ma[king] disgraceful and slanderous statements about Yuga, its founders, and its counsel" throughout the case. As a result, they will also have to pay Yuga's attorney's fees.
A lawsuit from an institutional customer was filed against the company in August, calling the project "a scam".
AuBit has tried to argue that it should be allowed to restructure, but the Cayman Islands judge opted to force the firm to liquidate, citing "a real absence of proper accounting".
That seems to be the intention of the Treasury Department, who described mixers as primarily used for illicit money laundering "by a broad range of illicit actors, including state-affiliated cyber actors, cyber criminals, and terrorist groups".
The project had raised $10.5 million in a 2021 seed funding round, and has said they intend to return remaining funds to its investors.
- "Superdao is closing down", Superdao blog [archive]
- "DAO-Builder SuperDao Shuts Shop, Returns Investor Money", CoinDesk [archive]