April 19, 2024
US Air Force Analyst Arrested for Alleged 'Rug Pull' in NFT World
NFT

US Air Force Analyst Arrested for Alleged ‘Rug Pull’ in NFT World

In a groundbreaking criminal case that has sent shockwaves through the world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Devin Alan Rhoden, a United States Air Force cyber analyst, has been arrested and accused of orchestrating a “rug pull” scheme. The case, outlined in court documents filed earlier this month, sheds light on the deceptive practices within the NFT space and their real-world consequences.

Rhoden stands accused of promoting UndeadApes NFTs, part of the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT suite, using the username Deviinz on the gaming platform Discord. The allegations suggest that Rhoden falsely inflated the value of the NFTs by suggesting a collaboration with the sought-after NFT collective known as Stoned Ape Crew. However, Stoned Ape Crew promptly denied any such collaboration, causing the purported value of UndeadApes NFTs to plummet and rendering the digital assets of the victim, an Air Force veteran, “worthless.”

According to the criminal complaint, Rhoden withdrew $80,000 from his Coinbase account in April 2022, with a significant portion of the funds allegedly derived from criminal activity. Subsequently, Rhoden and his wife reportedly purchased a $300,000 residence in Florida. Bank statements from this transaction have been submitted as evidence of fraud.

Investigations into Rhoden’s activities were facilitated by his Coinbase account linked to his driver’s license, granting authorities access to his Google profile. Damning searches such as “Do logs show on discord if they delete their account,” “What happens if a utility nfts rugs,” and “wire fraud court martial” were reportedly discovered in Rhoden’s search history. Discord logs also purportedly reveal Rhoden bragging about the funds received from victims.

During an interview with two members of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Rhoden admitted to “marketing his services to NFT developers” via Discord. However, he vehemently denied any knowledge of fraud. Rhoden is currently out on a $20,000 bond, awaiting a court date that will determine the legal ramifications of the charges brought against him.

This case highlights investors’ vulnerability in the rapidly evolving world of NFTs and raises questions about the potential misuse of skills acquired in official capacities, as Rhoden’s position as a United States Air Force cyber analyst adds a layer of complexity to the unfolding legal drama. As the NFT market expands, this arrest serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the need for increased vigilance and regulatory measures to protect participants from fraudulent activities within the digital asset space.

Image: DeviantArt

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