Trendon Shavers, founder of Bitcoin Savings and Trust, raised at least 764,000 bitcoins by promising investors a return of as much as 3,641 percent, prosecutors said. Instead, he used bitcoins from new investors to cover payments owed to earlier clients, while also tapping into the currency to pay for his own Las Vegas gambling and spa treatments
Shavers’s arrest comes as the U.S. intensifies its scrutiny of bitcoins. Prosecutors last year charged Ross William Ulbricht with running the $1.2 billion online bazaar called Silk Road in which drug dealers used the digital currency to buy heroin, phony passports and hacking services. He denies wrongdoing. Today, Bharara accused another man, Blake Benthall, with operating a virtually identical site called Silk Road 2.0.