Nathaniel Chastain, former product manager for OpenSea, was accused of fraud and money laundering, after US authorities accused him of having taken advantage of confidential information from the marketplace to enrich himself.
According to the prosecutors in charge of the case, the former worker of the non-fungible token exchange platform, Chastain, would have bought several dozen NFTs before they appeared on the home page of the OpenSea website, with the purpose of fraudulently multiplying interest and value in them. This strategy allowed the man to sell items up to five times more expensive than what he had paid for them, between June and September 2021.
Because Chastain’s role within the company was precisely to decide the NFTs that would be offered on the OpenSea website, the charges that the former employee now faces are for alleged electronic fraud and money laundering: crimes that individually are punished with sentences of up to 20 years in prison, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
According to various media, Chastain was formally charged on Tuesday, May 31, and was arrested on Wednesday, June 1, in New York, USA.
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OpenSea had already referred to this case at the end of last year, when, through an official statement, it confirmed the expulsion of Nathaniel Chastain from the company, after the company accepted that the man bought items that he knew would be listed. then on the cover the marketplace.
“This is incredibly disappointing. We want to make it clear that this behavior does not represent our values as a team. We are taking this very seriously and are conducting an immediate and comprehensive third-party-led review of this incident so that we have a full understanding of the facts and any additional steps we need to take,” the company said at the time.
If found guilty by a court, Chastain, 31, could go to prison for 40 years.