Instagram influencer ‘Jay Mazini’, 25, who once teamed up with 50 Cent to hand out $30K in cash at a Burger King, is charged with wire fraud in $2.5M Bitcoin scheme
- ‘Jay Mazini,’ whose legal name is Jegara Igbara, is charged with wire fraud in connection with Bitcoin scheme
- Federal prosecutors allege Igbara defrauded some of his one million Instagram followers out of $2.5million
- Igbara is best known for handing out large sums of cash to random people as part of stunts, one of which involved 50 Cent
- Criminal complaint alleges Igbara offered followers to buy Bitcoin at above-market value in exchange for wire transfers of cash, which he never sent
- Igbara, 25, also faces unrelated state charges in New Jersey
Social media influencer ‘Jay Mazini,’ who is best known for handing out large sums of cash at random as part of viral stunts, has been charged with wire fraud for allegedly swindling his followers out of at least $2.5million worth of Bitcoin.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced the charges against Mazini, whose real name is Jegara Igbara, on Wednesday, stating in a press release that the 25-year-old Instagram star had induced victims into sending him Bitcoin in exchange for wire transfers of cash, but in reality he never sent the money.
‘As alleged, Igbara used his immense social media popularity to dupe his followers into selling him Bitcoin,’ stated Acting United States Attorney Mark Lesko.
Instagram influencer ‘Jay Mazini,’ 25, whose legal name is Jegara Igbara, has been charged with wire fraud in connection with a $2.5million Bitcoin scheme
A criminal complaint alleges that Igbara had offered followers to buy Bitcoin from them at above-market values in exchange for wire transfers of cash, which he never sent
Igbara is best known for handing out large sums of cash to random people as part of viral stunts, one of which involved 50 Cent last year (pictured together)
According to a criminal complaint, until just a few weeks ago, Igbara had maintained a popular Instagram account boasting nearly one million followers under the name ‘Jay Mazini,’ where he would post videos showing himself handing out large amounts of cash to strangers as gifts.
Igbara pulled off arguably one of his most popular stunts last September, when he teamed up with rapper 50 Cent to hand out more $30,000 in cash to employees at a Burger King in Queens, New York.
‘PASSED OVER 30K ME & @50cent TO THESE HARD WORKERS, DURING THIS PANDEMIC,’ Igbara later wrote on his Instagram page.
Prosecutors wrote in the federal complaint that beginning in January 2021, Igbara began posting videos to his Instagram offering to buy Bitcoin from other users at prices 3.5 to 5 per cent over market value.
In February, Igbara had offered to pay $52,000 for one Bitcoin, which had a value of about $47,000 at the time.
‘Igbara claimed that he was willing to pay above-market prices because the traditional Bitcoin exchanges were limiting how much Bitcoin he could purchase,’ according to the document. ‘When victims agreed to transact in Bitcoin with Igbara, he sent them documents that included images of purported wire transfer confirmation pages that falsely confirmed Igbara had sent a wire transfer for the promised amounts.’
Investigators said Igbara claimed to have a net worth of $33million, but the balance on his bank account at the time was just $162
In September 2020, Igbara and 50 Cent handed out more than $30,000 to employees at a Queens, New York, Burger King
In response, the victims handed Igbara the Bitcoin, but the promised wire transfers never arrived, according to the complaint.
Investigators said Igbara claimed to have a net worth of $33million, but the balance on his bank account at the time was just $162.
‘Igbara’s social media persona served as a backdrop for enticing victims to sell him their Bitcoin at attractive, but inflated, values,’ stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney. ‘A behind-the-scenes look, however, revealed things aren’t always as they seem. There was nothing philanthropic about the Bitcoin transactions Igbara engaged in with his victims.’
Igbara is currently being held on unrelated state charges of aggravated assault, kidnapping, making terroristic threats and weapons possession in New Jersey. He will make his initial appearance in the Eastern District of New York at a later date.
If convicted of wire fraud, Igbara faces up to 20 years in federal prison.