Heartland Tri-State Bank’s Ex-CEO Pleads Guilty to Crypto-Linked Fraud

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Shan Hanes, the former CEO of Heartland Tri-State Bank in Elkhart, Kansas recently pled guilty to one count of fraud. 

Heartland Fraud Jeopardized Customers Deposits 

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Kansas, 52-year-old Hanes leveraged his position in the financial institution to commit fraud by embezzling millions of dollars, causing the bank to collapse and leaving investors at a loss. Similar to Sam Bankman-Fried’s move with FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda Research 

The court documents show that between May 2023 to July 2023, the bank officer performed 10 wire transfers from the bank’s funds to some crypto wallets. Noteworthy, the wire transfers were to different crypto accounts operated by anonymous third parties. Cumulatively, these transfers finally totaled $47.1 million.  

Affected Investors Unlikely to Recoup Losses

In the long run, the Kansas Banking Commission had to seize the bank, but it was later acquired by Dream First Bank. 

“Shan Hanes is a liar and a master manipulator who caused Heartland Tri-State Bank to collapse,’ U.S. Attorney Kate Brubacher clearly stated “Even as he was squandering away tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency, Hanes orchestrated schemes to cover his tracks concerning the losses at the bank.”

The attorney does not think that affected investors will fully recover their funds which includes life savings and retirement funds. However, she seems quite sure that Hanes will receive the consequences of his action at the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

Authorities Punish Crypto Scammers

Attorney Brubacher’s statement reflects the U.S. authorities’ intense and meticulous approach toward crypto scams and other financial criminal offenses. Only a week ago, two individuals Daren Li and Yicheng Zhang accused of orchestrating a sophisticated money laundering scheme were arrested separately by the DOJ. Their scam channeled over $73 million through U.S. financial institutions and ultimately converted the funds into Tether’s USDT token.

The charges before them were one for conspiring to launder money and six counts of international money laundering. Li and Zhang are looking at about 20 years in prison for each count, potentially totaling 140 years behind bars. In Hanes’ case, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison. His sentence hearing is scheduled to be held on August 8.

Authorities in other jurisdictions are equally addressing the issue of crypto scams with the utmost attention. London’s Southwark Crown Court sentenced a British-Chinese woman, Jian Wen, for getting involved in laundering $6 billion worth of Bitcoin (BTC) in China.

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