The United States Department of Justice has brought charges against nine people who are believed to have been involved in a cryptocurrency mining and trading scam that generated more than $8.4 million from investors.
The indictment, unsealed on December 14, claims that IcomTech and Forcount were two companies which promised investors “guaranteed daily returns” and the ability to double their investments in six months. It is alleged that both companies used funds from new investors to pay off earlier investors, as well as fund extravagant luxury goods, real estate purchases and other expenses.
The promoters of the two companies are reported to have attended various events, including “luxury expos” in the United States and overseas, where they boasted of their wealth and claimed to be able to offer financial freedom. Investors were given access to a portal to monitor their returns, but were unable to withdraw these alleged returns when the scheme began to unravel.
The SEC has charged the promoters and creators of Forcount with fraud and selling “memberships” offering a portion of the company’s crypto trading and mining activities. It is alleged that more than $8.4 million was raised from hundreds of investors. In an effort to increase liquidity, both IcomTech and Forcount launched their own tokens called “Icoms” and “Mindexcoin” respectively, but these sales were canceled in 2021 after both companies stopped paying investors.
US Attorney Damian Williams said of the indictments, “With these two indictments, this office is sending a message to all cryptocurrency scammers: We are coming for you. Stealing is stealing, even disguised in cryptocurrency jargon.”
David Carmona of Queens, New York was identified as the founder of IcomTech and Francisley da Silva from Curitiba, Brazil was named as the founder of Forcount. If convicted, they each face charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to launder funds and false statements. The promoters are facing multiple charges related to wire fraud, conspiracy to launder funds and false statements.