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

United States prosecutors have laid charges in two separate cases against nine people who founded or promoted a pair of cryptocurrency companies alleged to be Ponzi schemes that netted $8.4 million from investors.

On Dec. 14 the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed the indictment, alleging the purported 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 firms were using the money from later investors to pay earlier investors, while other funds were spent on promoting the companies and buying 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.

Promotors would allegedly show up at events in expensive cars, wearing luxury clothing and would boast about the money they were making from investing in the company they were promoting. Investors were given access to a “portal” to monitor their returns

IcomTech and Forcount started to fall apart when users were unable to withdraw their purported returns.

Charges brought against Forcount’s creators and promotors by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allege the outfit targeted primarily Spanish speakers and gathered over $8.4 million from “hundreds” of investors selling “memberships” offering a cut of its crypto trading and mining activities.

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

Seemingly the token sales 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 are coming for you,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “Stealing is stealing, even when dressed up in the jargon of cryptocurrency.”

Related: ​​Cryptocurrency has become a playground for fraudsters

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 penalty of 20 years prison.

Forcount’s founder was named as Francisley da Silva, from Curitiba, Brazil and faces charges of wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy which carries a maximum of 60 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

The promotors for the firms face various charges relating to wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy and making false statements.

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