Former Monero Dev Arrested in the US on behalf of South Africa

The former Monero Riccardo Spagne, aka Fluffypony has been taken into custody in the U.S. He is currently awaiting extradition to South Africa, where he will face fraud charges.

Fluffypony is in custody, waiting for extradition to South Africa

The U.S. government has filed a Memorandum for Extradition Law and Request For Detention Pending Extradition Proceeds for Riccardo Paolo Spgni at a Tennessee district court on July 21.

Spagni, also called Fluffypony was once a Monero lead keeper. According to the court document, Spagni was alleged to possess significant cryptocurrency assets that could enable him to flee.

According to the filing, the U.S. is “exercising its treaty responsibilities” and “acting at the request of South Africa’s government,” adding that the government of South Africa wants Spagni to be “provisional arrested with a view to his extradition to stand trial in fraud trials.”

According to the court document, Spagnani knowingly used false data to fabricate invoices purporting that they were from Ensync or three other non-existent suppliers while he was employed by Cape Cookies CC between Oct. 1, 2009 and June 8, 2011.

He “inflated” the prices of the goods and/or the services on each invoice, and replaced the bank information from the supplier with his own. Court details say:

In relying on Spagni’s misrepresentations, Cape Cookies paid each invoice by means of electronic funds transfer into bank accounts Spagni controlled.

According to the filing notes, he received 1,453,561.47 South African Rupees, or approximately $99,185 as a result his efforts to defraud Cape Cookies.

Spagni was indicted by the Western Cape Regional Court, Cape Town for fraud and other charges, but he pleaded guilty.

Spagni, however, did not appear at court for his trial. South African authorities discovered that Spagni had fled the country when they tried to find him. On April 19, 2021, the Magistrate Court of the District of Cape Town issued an arrest warrant. Spagni stated in his statement:

Due to an misunderstanding regarding the setting of court dates for an old matter, which has been ongoing since 2011, I was held in contempt and am currently awaiting extradition.

The case was also handled by Duncan Okes Inc.’s attorney. He issued a statement regarding it: “We consider that, contrary to accepted practice, procedure, and the circumstances, the warrant for arrest was unjustified and irregular.”