A US regulator fees 5 individuals on Wednesday for allegedly “fraudulently soliciting” cash from greater than 170 individuals for an organization known as Icomtech to commerce bitcoin and different property for them.
The Commodity Futures Buying and selling Fee filed a grievance within the US District Courtroom for the Central District of California towards David Carmona, Juan Arellano Parra, Moses Valdez, David Brend and Marco A. Ruiz Ochoa — who all did enterprise as Icomtech, the regulator mentioned.
The 5 misappropriated buyer funds and particularly “focused Spanish-speaking communities,” the CFTC mentioned.
From August 2018 by way of December 2019, the 5 and different Icomtech brokers “falsely represented they might use the cash to commerce Bitcoin and different digital asset commodities for the shoppers,” would supply returns and would double clients’ cash inside months, the regulator mentioned.
That didn’t occur, the CFTC alleges.
“As a substitute, Defendants misappropriated buyer funds to additional promote the scheme, and, on data and perception, to pay for private expenditures and to pay themselves commissions and bonuses,” in accordance with the CFTC’s grievance. “In actual fact, some Icomtech clients misplaced all of their funds.”
Carmona and Arellano is believed to be in federal custody, the CFTC mentioned.
The regulator additionally named bitcoin, Ether and USDC as “commodities” within the grievance.
Typically, a whole bunch of individuals attended completely different Icomtech promotional occasions, which had been held all through California, in accordance with the grievance.
CFTC Commissioner Kristin Johnson in contrast the alleged fraud to an “old-school Ponzi scheme,” in a statement.
Johnson mentioned she was dedicated to “elevating alarms concerning fraud that targets susceptible traders based mostly on relationships, kinship, or different social community connections.”
“As I’ve famous beforehand, perpetrators goal the recognized communities as a result of they’re conversant in the fears and challenges that will deter traders from reporting or successfully speaking the main points of the fraud to legislation enforcement or regulatory authorities,” Johnson mentioned.