Former CEO of Crypto Ponzi Scheme iComTech was sentenced to 5-year prison! More Prison Sentences Expected!

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Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the sentencing of Marco Ruiz Ochoa to five years in prison for his involvement in the crypto Ponzi scheme IcomTech. Ochoa, 35, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Alongside his prison sentence, Ochoa has been ordered to undergo two years of supervised release and to forfeit $914,000 in criminal proceeds.

Background of the IcomTech Scheme

The crypto MLM scheme IcomTech was initiated in 2018 by David Carmona, who pleaded guilty in September 2023. The scheme was falsely represented as a crypto mining and trading company, promising substantial profits in exchange for investments in crypto-related products. Ochoa, initially positioned as IcomTech’s CEO, alongside co-defendants Carmona, Juan Arellano, Moses Valdez, and David Brend, deceived investors with false promises of guaranteed daily returns from the company’s supposed cryptocurrency trading and mining operations. In reality, IcomTech did not conduct any such activities for its investors; instead, it used the funds to pay other victims and for personal enrichment.

The Method of Operation

The IcomTech promoters, including Ochoa, conducted promotional activities across the U.S. and internationally. These included hosting lavish expos and community presentations to attract investment, often creating an atmosphere of success and luxury to lure potential victims. Investors were persuaded to invest through cash, checks, wire transfers, and actual cryptocurrency. While online portals showed accumulating “profits,” most investors were unable to withdraw these funds and eventually lost their entire investments.

The Downfall of IcomTech

The scheme began to unravel as early as August 2018 when investors faced difficulties in withdrawing funds and received only excuses, delays, and hidden fees from the promoters. Despite mounting complaints, the promoters continued to accept investments and even introduced proprietary crypto tokens called Icoms, falsely claiming they would gain significant value. These tokens turned out to be essentially worthless, leading to further financial losses for the victims. By the end of 2019, IcomTech collapsed, ceasing payments to investors.

Remaining iComTech promoter defendants Moses Valdez, Juan Arellano, David Brend, and Gustavo Rodriguez are scheduled to face trial on February 28th.

Related Legal Action and Charges

In addition to the criminal charges, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also filed charges against Ochoa and other IcomTech executives, emphasizing that the scheme specifically targeted Spanish-speaking communities.

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