Former Minnesota Vikings co-owner, Reginald Fowler, has been convicted by the Manhattan federal court in a $700 million cryptocurrency scam.
Fowler, 64 years old, defrauded the Alliance of American Football (AAF), a now-defunct professional football league, through a fraudulent crypto investment.
The US Attorney’s Office in New York announced that Fowler would serve a 75-month prison term and forfeit $740 million, in addition to paying $53 million in restitution.
Fowler’s involvement in criminal activities dates back to his attempted purchase of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in 2005, where he became a minority owner before his involvement ended in 2014.
The AAF, which Fowler falsely claimed he could support with substantial funds, abruptly went bankrupt in 2019, leading to its shutdown.
Fowler was charged with bank fraud and money laundering for his role in conducting over $700 million in unregulated transactions over a ten-month period in 2018.
Prosecutor Damian Williams highlighted how Fowler deceived legitimate US financial institutions, exposing the financial system to significant risks while victimizing the professional football league.
In defense, Fowler’s lawyer, Edward Sapone, emphasized Fowler’s remorse and explained that the American League did not benefit from the intended investment due to frozen bank accounts and the inability to secure the promised funds.
Fowler’s alleged criminal activities involved utilizing crypto exchanges, specifically Crypto Capital Corp., as shadow banks to conduct bank-like transactions.
Crypto Capital Corp. facilitates transactions for cryptocurrency startups outside the traditional banking system. Fowler initially pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2020 but changed his plea in April 2022.
The conviction concludes a lengthy case that began with Fowler’s arrest in 2019 related to his involvement in shadow bank transactions.