Former head of IcomTech, Marco Ochoa, finds himself in the latest legal entanglement involving cryptocurrency fraud. On September 27, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Marco Ochoa pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by IcomTech. Notably, Ochoa held the position of CEO at IcomTech from its inception in 2018 until 2019.
According to an official statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, IcomTech enticed investors with the promise of daily returns on investment products. These products were purportedly linked to a crypto mining and trading enterprise. To attract customers, promoters of IcomTech organized extravagant expos and various community events on a global scale. Additionally, the company introduced its proprietary token, referred to as the “Icom.”
However, it has come to light that the company did not engage in cryptocurrency mining as claimed. Furthermore, investors found themselves unable to withdraw the profits that appeared to accumulate in their accounts. Consequently, the company faced a catastrophic collapse in late 2019. Legal action was initiated against Marco Ochoa and other high-ranking IcomTech executives in November 2022. Ochoa now faces the possibility of a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. In response to these developments, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams issued a stern statement:
“Today’s guilty plea sends a resounding message that we are determined to pursue individuals who exploit cryptocurrency for fraudulent activities.”
Notably, Ochoa’s guilty plea occurred just one day after Pablo Rodriguez, co-founder of the AirBit Club Ponzi scheme, received a 12-year prison sentence from a different judge in the Southern District of New York.
Additionally, on September 27, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced formal charges against Mosaic Exchange and its CEO, Sean Michael. Mosaic Exchange is alleged to have enticed investors into permitting the company to engage in “futures, swaps, and leveraged spot transactions in cryptocurrency” on their behalf. In response to these allegations, CFTC commissioner Kristin Johnson issued the following statement:
“Mosaic Exchange managed to trade digital asset derivatives on BitMEX and Binance, two platforms that the CFTC has previously taken action against for various regulatory violations, including failure to register as a futures commission merchant, swap execution facility, or designated contract market. Furthermore, they failed to implement adequate anti-money laundering and know-your-customer procedures.”
She further emphasized, “In line with our existing authority, the CFTC should take proactive steps to introduce regulatory measures addressing potential gaps in these emerging market structures.”