Crypto Coach Turned Conman: The Brian Sewell Scam

Crypto Coach Turned Conman: The Brian Sewell Scam

By SimpleSwap | SimpleSwap Blog | 4 Mar 2024

A 51-year-old cryptocurrency trading course instructor was convicted of fraud totaling $1.2 million, but soon he became a victim of scammers himself. This story is currently being actively discussed in the crypto space. Who is Brian Sewell, how did he manage to deceive students out of more than a million dollars, and what will all this mean for the crypto industry? We'll answer these and other questions in the new material.

SEC against Brian Sewell

In early February, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against Brian Sewell, the head of Rockwell Capital Management, on suspicion of fraud. According to the regulator, Sewell defrauded 15 students who took his cryptocurrency trading course at the American Bitcoin Academy, for a total of $1.2 million. The fraudster was ordered to pay the entire amount to the victims plus a fine of $223,000.

What did Brian Sewell promise?

The beginning of this story was rather ordinary. At the time of the investigation, Brian Sewell was just over 50 years old. He worked as a head of Rockwell Capital Management and was engaged in teaching activities at the American Bitcoin Academy. There he conducted courses on cryptocurrency trading and investing for young students, urging them to invest in his own hedge fund, the Rockwell Fund.

According to information obtained by the SEC, Sewell established his hedge fund in 2018. To his students, who were also investors, he promised the following:

Sewell promised to develop the artificial intelligence that would manage the fund himself. In reality, the SEC found out that there was no AI development.

Sewell deceived his students by promising them "golden mountains", and backed this up with quite convincing stories. For example, he once claimed to have turned $250,000 into $9 million through hedging. As a result, the SEC proved this to be a lie.

What happened next?

For almost a year and a half, Brian Sewell extracted money from students until his actions caught the attention of regulatory authorities. It turned out that all the fraudulently obtained funds were converted into BTC by Sewell and stored in a cryptocurrency wallet. Later, the scammer claimed that his wallet was hacked, and he himself became a victim of fraud.

The case went to court but was resolved peacefully. Rockwell Capital Management agreed to pay $1.6 million to all victims, taking compensations into account. Brian Sewell also has to pay a fine of $223,229.

How could this incident affect the crypto industry?

It might seem like just another fraud story that shouldn't have a significant impact on the Crypto World. However, the regulatory situation regarding crypto finances is currently heated, and any unfavorable incident could be decisive in the issuance of new laws.

The SEC has already filed lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, which had a negative impact on the activities of these exchanges.  SEC deemed some crypto assets as securities. If confirmed, they would have to be delisted from American exchanges, which would lead to even greater turmoil in the market. The crypto industry reacted cautiously to the lawsuits. Most investors saw it as "tightening the screws" and an attempt at dominance by governmental bodies. The question of whether cryptocurrencies are securities and how to regulate them is still unresolved.


Thus, although Brian Sewell's case did not acquire a national character and did not become a "flagrant precedent", it still had its impact on the Crypto World. Now, with the active integration of AI technologies into the crypto space, it becomes much more difficult to monitor the actions of scammers. Therefore, regulatory bodies, aiming to maintain user safety, are beginning to work more aggressively and demand more from organizations.

If you want to learn more interesting facts about crypto then check out our blog! You might like our articles “Grayscale Won Against the SEC in Court” and “Ripple Won the Case Against the SEC”.

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