Charges laid over alleged ‘crypto mining’ Ponzis that netted $8.4M

US prosecutors have filed charges in two separate cases against nine people who founded or promoted a pair of cryptocurrency companies that allegedly ran Ponzi schemes that raked in $8.4 million from investors.

On December 14, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed the indictment, alleging that the alleged crypto mining and trading companies IcomTech and Forcount promised investors “guaranteed daily returns” that could double their investment in six months.

In reality, prosecutors say, both companies were using money from later investors to pay earlier investors, while other funds were spent on promoting the companies and buying luxury items and real estate.

“Glastic exhibitions” were held in the United States and abroad, along with presentations in small communities, which lured investors with promises of financial freedom and wealth.

Promoters would show up at events with expensive cars, fancy clothes and brag about the money they made investing in the company they were promoting. Investors were given access to a “portal” to monitor their returns

IcomTech and Forcount started going bust when users were unable to withdraw their supposed refunds.

Charges filed against Forcount’s creators and promoters by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allege that the group primarily targeted Spanish speakers and raised more than $8.4 million from “hundreds” of investors that sell “memberships” that offer a cut of their crypto trading and mining activities.

In an attempt to increase liquidity, both companies created tokens so they could try paying investors with IcomTech and Forcount launching “Icoms” and “Mindexcoin” respectively.

The token sales apparently failed, as by 2021 both had stopped making payments to investors.

“With these two indictments, this Office is sending a message to all cryptocurrency scammers: We’re coming for you,” said US Attorney Damian Williams. “Stealing is stealing, even when dressed up in cryptocurrency jargon.”

Related: ​​Cryptocurrency has become a playground for scammers

David Carmona, of Queens, New York, was named in the indictment as the founder of IcomTech, and was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The founder of Forcount was named Francisley da Silva of Curitiba, Brazil and faces charges of wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy that carry a maximum of 60 years in prison if convicted on all counts. charges

The promoters of the companies face various charges related to wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money and making false statements.