DoJ charges nine in Crypto Ponzi Case.

  • IcomTech and Forcount were the companies involved in the Ponzi schemes, promising false annuities to the victims.
  • The Justice Department has been very strict lately in the wake of FTX-like incidents.
  • Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas and denied bail.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has become extremely vigilant and is scrutinizing the players in the cryptocurrency industry. All of this vigilance is perhaps to avoid a “Part II” FTX collapse on US soil. The DoJ announced it had filed charges against nine people for allegedly operating two Crypto Ponzi schemes: ‘IcomTech’ and ‘Forcount’, aka ‘Weltsys’, on Wednesday.

These two allegations should be considered a warning to all cryptocurrency scammers. US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement:

“To steal is to steal, even when dressed in cryptocurrency jargon.”

According to the DoJ, Icom Tech and Forcount claimed to be cryptocurrency trading and mining companies that promised their investors profits in exchange for buying cryptocurrency-related investment products. Victims have used cash, wire transfers, checks, and cryptocurrencies to invest.

In the first charge, the DoJ accused Marco Ruiz Ochoa, David Carmona, Juan Arellano, Moses Valdez, Gustavo Rodriguez and David Brend of committing wire fraud over their involvement in IcomTech. The agency said the venture was run between mid-2018 and the end of 2019.

The second indictment saw the DoJ indict Juan Tacuri, Francisley Da Silva and Antonia Perez Hernandez for their involvement in Forcount. He ran an alleged Ponzi venture from mid-2017 to the end of 2021. Silva and Tacuri are also accused of anti-money laundering (AML) acts.

The agency said the company made false promises to their respective victims that, along with other benefits, they would also be entitled to receive a share of the profits earned from the companies’ cryptocurrency mining and trading. This would guarantee them daily returns; investments should be doubled within six months.

The SEC charges 8 social media influencers with $100 million securities fraud.

On Dec. 14, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicted 8 social media influencers; who used Twitter and Discord to manipulate publicly traded stocks. The deception involved an estimated $100 million.

The seven defendants promoted themselves as successful traders and gained thousands of followers on Twitter and Discord. Presumably they are busy ‘pump and dump’ as they bought shares in certain companies and promoted their names on their social media accounts and podcasts. They prompted their followers to buy those stocks by setting price targets, indicating they were also buying and holding them. But when the price rose, they sold their shares without revealing it to their followers.

The eighth accomplice was accused of helping the enterprise by promoting them as merchants and hosting them on his podcast.

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