The FBI arrested a Manhattan man, Idin Dalpour, yesterday morning for allegedly orchestrating a $43 million Ponzi scheme involving a fictitious Las Vegas hospitality business and a cryptocurrency trading operation.

“For four years, Idin Dalpour allegedly used false promises of high returns to entice victims to invest in his purported hospitality and cryptocurrency trading enterprises, but in reality, used these payments to satisfy other debts or personal expenditures,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said in a press release. “Cheating investors of millions severs the trust of clients and credibility of prospective advisors, both of which are vital to the success of the investment market.”

Dalpour’s company, Maxben Group, mentions real estate, hospitality, entertainment venues, and professional sports teams—but doesn’t appear to mention crypto trading. Instead, that was run through a separate business, according to the FBI.

“Dalpour falsely represented to investors that he purchased cryptocurrency at wholesale and sold the cryptocurrency at a profit to retail investors,” prosecutors wrote in their indictment. “As with the Las Vegas hospitality enterprise, Dalpour promised investors lucrative annual returns and that their money was insured. These statements were false.”

The Manhattan resident also allegedly spent $1.7 million of investors’ money to cover his personal gambling losses, more than $400,000 on Art Direct, and private school tuition for his children.

Dalpour, 39, faces one charge of wire fraud, which could result in up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The indictment reveals that from 2020 to 2024, Dalpour lured investors into his scheme with fabricated contracts and false financial statements, including claims of partnerships with a Las Vegas hotel and sports stadiums. When confronted by investors, Dalpour admitted to the deceit, said the FBI.

This isn’t the first time Dalpour has been sued in connection with his businesses, Maxben Group.

Last month, two lenders filed a complaint against Dalpour and his company for breach of contract after borrowing $2.5 million in 2023 and failing to repay it. And in September 2023, three investors filed a lawsuit claiming that he had defrauded them and breached contracts after they had invested a total of $5 million in his company over the course of several years.

“This is a case about a profound abuse of trust,” the 2023 lawsuit states on behalf of three of Dalpour’s investors. “He started as a business connection, built friendships with all three men, and eventually found himself in such a position of trust that Mr. Saleem, Mr. Russ, and Mr. Schroeder invested more than $5 million of their and their investors’ money into Mr. Dalpour’s businesses.”

Editor’s note: This article was written with the assistance of AI. Edited and fact-checked by Stacy Elliott.

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