- Former IcomTech CEO Marco Ruiz Ochoa, 35, was sentenced on Friday before a U.S. district judge after pleading guilty in September to wire fraud.
Former IcomTech CEO Marco Ruiz Ochoa was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in promoting the crypto firm which promised returns for investors, but federal prosecutors say was run more like a Ponzi scheme.
Ochoa, 35, was sentenced on Friday before a U.S. district judge after pleading guilty in September to wire fraud.
“Ochoa took advantage of the hype around cryptocurrency to con unsuspecting victims into investing in the IcomTech pyramid scheme. This significant sentence sends a message to anyone considering following in his footsteps: that path leads to serious prison time,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement on Friday.
Ochoa was also sentenced to two years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $914,000 in criminal proceeds, according to the Justice Department.
IcomTech, an alleged crypto mining and trading company, promised investors profits in exchange for their purchase of “purported cryptocurrency-related investment products.” Ochoa, along with others, promised profits from the companies’ crypto trading and mining arm that they said would result in daily returns.
IcomTech’s crypto trading and mining business did not exist, prosecutors said, and investor money was used for other schemes and personal expenditures.
Promoters for IcomTech showed up to events in expensive cars and wearing luxury clothes in a move to appear successful, prosecutors said.
“The atmosphere of these events was festive and designed to generate excitement about the schemes,” they said.
When investors began trying to withdraw money in 2018, they were then met with excuses, delays and hidden fees.
“Despite these complaints, IcomTech promoters, including Ochoa, continued to promote IcomTech and accept victims’ investments,” prosecutors said. By the end of 2019, IcomTech collapsed.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also brought charges against Ochoa, and other IcomTech executives including David Carmona, Juan Arellano Parra and Moses Valdez in May.
The CFTC said the group targeted Spanish-speaking communities.