Stefan Qin had the world at his feet. If you didn’t know better, the 24-year dropout from UNSW was another kind of Zuckerberg on the rise, creating the Virgil Sigma Fund in 2017, and attracting investors with a promise of 500% returns from a lucrative arbitrage trading algorithm called Tenjin. This week, Stefan Qin was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to embezzling US $ 90 million (AU $ 123 million) to spend on failed cryptocurrency investments, a penthouse in New York, adult entertainment and himself.
“Qin used this hedge fund as his own piggy bank,” said US Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Tracer via a sentencing note.
“Stealing money from investors to lead a lavish lifestyle and repeatedly lying to investors about what they do with their money.”
“Virgil had a declared market strategy of safe investments” neutral to the market “, adds the American lawyer Audrey Strauss.
“Qin’s investors soon discovered that his strategies were nothing more than a disguised means for him to embezzle and make unauthorized investments with client funds.”
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Federal prosecutors have revealed that more than 100 people have been defrauded. When the scheme started to develop, Qin added the Ponzi scheme to his spreadsheet by draining the assets of his second crypto fund, VQR Multistrategy, to pay off the initial losses. His actions have left investors homeless, without resources and without their savings.
“Mr. Qin did not steal food from a grocery store to feed his family,” says investor Steve Reich.
“He stole over $ 90 million from ordinary people and showed no real remorse. “
And just to heal the wound, Stefan Qin chose to communicate his regrets using what is perhaps the most lamentable apology in the history of apologies.
“Instead of telling the truth, I did the worst thing and doubled down on my lies,” Qin said.
“I thought I was the main protagonist and life was a video game and I had just found the cheat code to beat it. As we know, life is not a video game.
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During the trial, Qin claimed to suffer from gambling and sexual addiction (read: inability to refrain from escort) apparently resulting from a traumatic childhood to alleviate guilt. But in vain. Which is just as good, given the fragility of these two justifications. If all Asian kids were to behave the same because of crappy parenthood – current business included – suffice it to say that entire nations would be bankrupt.
“This type of white collar crime is just as devastating to victims as other types of crime, and it will be severely punished,” said Judge Valerie Caproni, describing Qin as a “potentially very dangerous person.” The phrase is also meant to make the Canberra native an example to discourage other potential scammers from attempting something similar.
Stefan Qin will have ample time to retell his sob story to fellow inmates over the next seven and a half years after entering prison on December 15.
Have fun, mate.