Several creators and promoters of two allegedly fraudulent cryptocurrency companies are facing a slew of charges that could land them in prison for 20 years.
Prosecutors in the United States have charged nine people in two separate cases with founding or promoting a pair of cryptocurrency companies that were allegedly Ponzi schemes that netted investors $8.4 million.
The indictment was unsealed on December 14 by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the purported crypto mining and trading companies IcomTech and Forcount promised investors “guaranteed daily returns” that could double their investment in six months.
Prosecutors claim that both firms used money from later investors to pay earlier investors, while other funds were used to promote the companies and buy luxury items and real estate.
“Lavish expos” were held in the U.S. and abroad, along with presentations in small communities, that lured investors in with promises of financial freedom and wealth.
Promoters were said to arrive at events in expensive cars and luxury clothing, bragging about how much money they were making from investing in the company they were promoting. Investors were given access to a “portal” where they could track their returns.
When users were unable to withdraw their purported returns, IcomTech and Forcount began to fall apart.
According to charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Forcount’s creators and promoters, the outfit targeted primarily Spanish speakers and collected over $8.4 million from “hundreds” of investors selling “memberships” offering a cut of its crypto trading and mining activities.
In order to generate liquidity, both companies created tokens in order to repay investors, with IcomTech launching “Icoms” and Forcount launching “Mindexcoin” respectively.
The token sales appear to have failed, as both had stopped making payments to investors by 2021.
“With these two indictments, this Office sends a message to all cryptocurrency scammers: We are coming for you,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “Stealing is stealing, even when disguised in cryptocurrency jargon.”