Braden John Karony, the CEO of the bankrupt cryptocurrency firm SafeMoon, has been released on a $3 million bail amid an alleged multimillion-dollar international fraud scheme. However, his legal team, Petrillo Klein & Boxer, is seeking to withdraw from representing him, citing a purported lack of funds to cover private counsel expenses.
Karony and his colleagues were charged by the United States Justice Department in November 2023 with securities, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Despite obtaining bail, Karony faces the possibility of being represented by a public defender due to his reported inability to pay legal fees.
Petrillo partner Adam Schuman filed a motion on Feb. 12, reiterating their earlier request to withdraw as Karony’s counsel. The motion highlighted SafeMoon’s failure to provide funds for Karony’s legal fees, leading to the law firm’s decision to withdraw. A magistrate judge appointed a public defender to Karony on Feb. 9, with both parties now in direct communication.
During a Feb. 9 hearing in New York, Magistrate Judge Taryn Merkl granted Karony bail but increased the bond to $3 million, rejecting the initially proposed $1 million bond as “totally insufficient.” Karony’s parents, who signed on as custodians, reportedly influenced Merkl’s decision to release their son, despite previous legal conflicts.
MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney by Petrillo Klein and Boxer LLP. by Braden John Karony. (Schuman, Adam) (Entered: 02/12/2024) pic.twitter.com/EKEsljwq9y— Live4offrd #AllForOne (@live4offrd) February 12, 2024
Karony’s legal troubles began in October 2023 when U.S. prosecutors charged him and CTO Thomas Smith with securities, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. SafeMoon creator Kyle Nagy also faced charges but remains at large.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission additionally charged Karony, Nagy, and Smith with fraud and unregistered securities sales. The legal saga continues as Karony’s lawyers seek withdrawal over unpaid fees.