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SEC charges 17 $300m for crypto Ponzi Scheme targeting Latinos

TL;DR

  • The SEC charged 17 individuals for their involvement in a $300 million crypto Ponzi scheme targeting the Latino community.
  • The scheme was run by Houston-based CryptoFX LLC and scammed over 40,000 investors in the U.S. and two other countries.
  • The fraud promised investors risk-free, guaranteed returns from crypto and foreign exchange investments.

Diving headfirst into the murky waters of financial fraud, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently brought the hammer down on 17 individuals involved in a colossal $300 million crypto con, explicitly designed to target the Latino community. This case isn’t just another drop in the financial scandal bucket; it’s a glaring spotlight on the darker side of crypto’s promise of wealth and freedom.

The Inner Workings of a Massive Fraud

At the heart of this scandal lies CryptoFX LLC, a company based out of Houston, Texas, that painted itself as a beacon of financial prosperity. Between May 2020 and October 2022, this entity, alongside its cohorts spread across Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, and Florida, masterminded a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions. They lured over 40,000 unsuspecting investors with the allure of crypto and foreign exchange investments, promising returns ranging from a tempting 15% to an unbelievable 100%.

However, the grim reality was far from their glossy promises. The supposed investment juggernaut was nothing more than a classic Ponzi setup, where investor funds were shuffled around to create the illusion of profits, lining the pockets of the scheme’s architects and their closest circle. Instead of channeling the funds into legitimate trading activities, the bulk of the capital was diverted. Some of it was used to pay out so-called returns to other investors to keep the sham going, while a significant portion found its way into the lavish lifestyles of those at the helm.

Adding insult to injury, even after the SEC clamped down on CryptoFX with emergency actions in September 2022, some members of this unscrupulous band didn’t hit the brakes. Gabriel and Dulce Ochoa, a pair of defendants, brazenly continued to solicit investments, with Gabriel going so far as to instruct investors to withdraw their complaints to the SEC under the pretense of recovering their investments. Another defendant, Maria Saravia, took deception a step further by dismissing the SEC’s lawsuit as a farce.

Legal Repercussions and Ongoing Battle

The SEC’s legal machinery swung into full motion, filing a comprehensive complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. This action isn’t just a slap on the wrist; it’s a full-fledged attack on the perpetrators, seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. The charges span across the board, accusing the defendants of violating antifraud, securities-registration, and broker-registration provisions of federal securities laws. Moreover, Gabriel Ochoa faces charges for violating whistleblower protection provisions, underscoring the breadth and depth of their misconduct.

In a rare glimmer of accountability, two of the defendants, without admitting to the allegations, agreed to consent judgments that would enjoin them from further violations of the implicated securities laws. Together, they’re on the hook for over $68,000 in penalties, disgorgement, and interest, a mere drop in the bucket compared to the scheme’s vast scale but a step toward justice nonetheless.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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