Federal prosecutors looking into Bannon-backed cryptocurrency $FJB, say sources

Federal prosecutors looking into Bannon-backed cryptocurrency $FJB, say sources

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(NEW YORK) – A cryptocurrency linked to former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon and Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn has caught the attention of federal prosecutors in New York, who began investigating it, they told ABC News. sources familiar with the matter.

News of federal prosecutors’ interest in Bannon and Epshteyn’s cryptocurrency comes on the heels of an ABC News investigation into cryptocurrency, which looked into allegations of internal chaos and mismanagement by Trump’s two high-profile associates during last year. including allegations that they have failed in their commitment to continue donating portions of the coin’s proceeds to charity.

The New York Times was first to report the news of the federal prosecutors’ investigation.

The cryptocurrency, named $FJB from the shortened version of the MAGA vulgar expression “F— Joe Biden” and now officially said to stand for Freedom Jobs and Business, has lost 95% of its value amid domestic turmoil.

Critics say $FJB represents the latest in a series of ill-fated efforts to leverage MAGA support for financial gain, particularly by Bannon, who in September pleaded not guilty to unrelated charges of defrauding donors with the promise to build a wall. on the US-Mexico border.

Acquired by Bannon and Epshteyn from original lead creator Grant Tragni and two other co-founders in late 2021, $FJB was promoted as a rejection of President Joe Biden and an alternative financial institution for conservatives by the two MAGA influencers, who also They emphasized that part. of the 8% transaction fee of the coin would go to charities such as the Wounded Warriors Project, Tunnels To Towers, Semper Fi, and the Patriot Freedom Project.

But according to a Wounded Warriors Project spokesperson, as of January this year, $FJB had made no donations to the organization since Bannon and Epshteyn took over in December 2021. Wounded Warriors told ABC News they had only received one donation. of $FJB in November 2021, prior to the involvement of Bannon and Epshteyn.

Bannon and Epshteyn did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

The frustration among some apparent buyers of $FJB continued in October 2022 when a representative of $FJB publicly acknowledged during one of his weekly calls that an unknown amount of money from accounts tied to the coin’s 8% transaction fee had ” missing”. The representatives have yet to provide details about the missing funds, citing an ongoing “internal investigation” and “legal action.”

In response to growing frustration among online users, a $FJB admin said during a weekly call in mid-December 2022 that “Boris [Epshteyn] He is working to recover our funds.”

Concerns over a lack of funds and a breach of stated commitment to the charity mounted over the fall as the coin’s value continued to fall, while Bannon and Epshteyn appeared to be silent on the coin for five months. The company then briefly angered buyers when a representative for $FJB announced in mid-February that the duo was pulling out of the project, only to rescind the announcement within minutes. Soon after, Bannon and Epshteyn took to social media to reiterate their support and commitment to $FJB.

“Not only am I a huge supporter of that project and the community, my wallet, Boris and my wallet, are public,” Bannon said on February 15, 2023. “Not only have I never sold a coin, I’ve only bought coins, and that wallet is public. Everyone, check it out. We are big supporters of the $FJB project and the community.”

A person close to Bannon and Epshteyn told ABC News last month: “Steve and Boris are fully committed to the $FJB community and are working with a competent and dedicated team to keep moving forward with all the goals and objectives of the project. . A full effort is also underway to determine and remedy any and all issues stemming from the actions of the original founders of the coin. The $FJB community represents and stands up for American transparency, independence, and strength. Steve and Boris will always fight for those ideals.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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