John Caruso pleaded not guilty to his charges back in March, arguing that he had not participated in any fraudulent activity linked to Zima Digital Assets, the crypto startup that deprived $9 million worth of cash of stakeholders.
Last week, Judge John Tuchi upheld previous rulings that if granted his freedom, Caruso will most likely attempt to hide himself. On another occasion, in April, Judge Michelle Burns produced the same ruling arguing that the defendant is too much of a risk to be released.
Caruso’s lawyers have attempted to release their client from prison following the recent spate of COVID-19 infections within the U.S. prison system, prompting small-time offenders to be released and kept under house arrest.
Judge Michelle Burns, however, argued that Caruso was in good health and fit, and therefore not likely to be infected or in the very least succumb to the infection. With yet another judge denying Caruso freedom, his chances to get out of jail are looking slimmer by the day.
In citing evidence behind their rulings, judges said that not all stolen funds, some $9 million have been accounted for, making it possible for Caruso to consider an escape plan. Caruso is a co-founder in the startup together with Zachary Salter, which later reportedly turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme.
Stakeholders would buy the platform’s token but receive no dividends. The pair then used the hot funds to travel to Las Vegas, fund their gambling habits and more. They have amassed at least $1.5 million in expenditures. For the sake of thoroughness, some $1.9 million was reportedly paid back to owners.
If Caruso is found guilty in his upcoming trial in July, he may spend up to five years in prison.