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PlexCoin debacle: Crown demands 50 months in prison and $6.8 million fine for Dominique Lacroix

PlexCoin debacle: Crown demands 50 months in prison and $6.8 million fine for Dominique Lacroix

AMF prosecutors are seeking a four-year prison sentence as well as a $6.8 million fine for Dominique Lacroix, the person who defrauded nearly 15,000 investors using his cryptocurrency, PlexCoin.

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Lacroix was convicted in December of the three charges against him: illegal investments without a prospectus in Quebec and abroad, as well as conveying false information about these investments.

Prosecutors from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) on Monday proposed to Judge Steve Magnan to impose a total custodial sentence of 50 months on the defendants, accompanied by a fine of $6.8 million.

This amount represents just over half of the $10.8 million raised during the funding round from investors attracted by the promise of amazing returns presented by Dominique Lacroix. The founder of PlexCoin, which is supposed to compete with Bitcoin, promised investors profits of up to 1,354%.

$2 million fee

While observing the ruling, prosecutors summoned the interim director of the PlexCoin case, Emmanuel Phaneuf.

Grant Thornton, a Raymond Chabot specialist, explained to the judge that LaCroix's lack of cooperation in the case had cost the system dearly. The Arab Monetary Fund believes that this is an aggravating factor in the accused’s crimes.

“The matter cost much more than it would have cost in a cooperative context,” the accountant explained, explaining that the fees on file amounted to two million dollars. He added: “A third of the amounts were recovered.”

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Mr. Phaneuf also explained that 490 reported investors were able to recover $2.3 million.

Regarding the question of whether it was possible to find all the amounts initially collected, the interim director explains that at a certain point “the investigation stalled,” leaving an unexplained gap of about 100 bitcoins between the amounts collected by Lacroix and what the official found.

“At some point, the work of finding the bitcoins and explaining the discrepancy becomes more expensive,” the witness said.

Dominique Lacroix's lawyer will present her position on the punishment that will be imposed on her client on Tuesday.

The co-accused settles

Yann Ouellet, who worked as IT director at PlexCoin, settled his case on Monday. The man who was a close friend of Dominic Lacroix was also found guilty after the trial, and accepted a joint motion that saved him from arrest, but fined him $400,000.

The AMF has clarified that it is waiving detention in Ouellet's case given that the latter is currently detained in the US awaiting trial in connection with the Plexcoin disaster.

“He will have to be tried and subject to a relatively heavy penalty,” Al-Sayed explained.H Amelie Roy, Prosecutor, Financial Markets Authority.

Yann Ouellet has been detained since mid-November. He, like Dominic Lacroix, has been the subject of an indictment since 2020, in Ohio.

Dominique Lacroix's wife was also charged in the case, but was acquitted.

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