- Elmaani, known as “Bruno Block,” admitted to secretly minting and selling millions of Pearl tokens without reporting the profits to tax authorities.
- Between 2017 and 2018, he promoted Pearl as part of the Oyster data storage platform but covertly minted and sold tokens for personal gain in 2018.
- Despite substantial earnings, he claimed only $15,000 in income for 2017 and reported zero for 2018.
Amir Bruno Elmaani, founder of the defunct crypto project Oyster Protocol, has received the maximum 4-year prison sentence for evading over $5.5 million in taxes.
The 31-year-old, known as “Bruno Block,” pleaded guilty in April to secretly minting and selling millions of Pearl tokens while not reporting profits to tax authorities.
Between 2017 and 2018, Elmaani promoted Pearl as part of the Oyster data storage platform. But unknown to investors, he covertly minted and dumped tokens for personal profit in 2018.
Elmaani claimed only $15,000 in income for 2017
Despite raking in huge sums, Elmaani claimed only $15,000 in income for 2017 and reported zero for 2018. In reality, he spent lavishly on yachts, homes, and precious metals.
“Elmaani violated the duty he owed to pay taxes on millions in crypto profits and also violated investor trust,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.
In his plea deal, Elmaani admitted minting new Pearls “without telling anyone” and selling them while buyers were likely unaware of the increased supply.
Elmaani used nominees to receive proceeds and hide his crypto wealth. He bought two homes through associates and kept gold bars on his yacht.
In addition to prison time, Elmaani received one year of supervised release and must pay the $5.5 million in owed taxes.
The harsh sentence sends a message that crypto riches don’t exempt individuals from reporting income. Elmaani’s greed and deception while betraying his investors ultimately caught up to him.