Ponzi Scheme Shocker: Ex-CEO of IcomTech Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
Marco Ruiz Ochoa, the former CEO of IcomTech, entered a guilty plea on 27 September, admitting to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud before the Southern District Court of New York.
His plea is directly tied to his involvement in a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by IcomTech.
He presided over the company from its inception in 2018 until 2019.
The United States (US) Justice Department has shed light on the deceptive practices employed by IcomTech.
The company enticed investors with the promise of daily returns on investment products, masquerading as a cryptocurrency mining and trading enterprise.
IcomTech's promotional activities included extravagant expos and community events held across the globe, all aimed at attracting unsuspecting customers.
Additionally, the company introduced its own cryptocurrency token, known as an "Icom."
However, it has been alleged that IcomTech never actually engaged in cryptocurrency mining, and investors found themselves unable to access the profits they believed were accruing in their accounts.
Ultimately, the company collapsed in late 2019.
Legal action was initiated against Marco and other high-ranking IcomTech executives back in November.
If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
US Attorney Damian Williams said:
“Today's guilty plea sends a clear message that we are coming after all of those who seek to exploit cryptocurrency to commit fraud."
Notably, his guilty plea closely follows the sentencing of Pablo Rodriguez, co-founder of the AirBit Club Ponzi scheme, who was handed a 12-year prison term by a separate judge within the Southern District Court of New York on the same day.
Furthermore, on 27 September, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced charges against Mosaic Exchange Limited and its CEO, Sean Michael.
These charges allege that Mosaic Exchange enticed investors into authorising the company to engage in "futures, swaps, and leveraged spot transactions in cryptocurrency" on their behalf, signalling an ongoing effort to address fraudulent activities within the cryptocurrency space.
Based on the charges, CFTC commissioner Kristin Johnson said:
“Mosaic was able to trade digital asset derivatives on BitMEX and Binance, two platforms that the CFTC has previously charged with, among other things, failing to register as an FCM [futures commission merchant], SEF [swap execution facility], or DCM [designated contract market], and failing to implement anti-money laundering and know-your-customer procedures."