The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has indicted five individuals for falsely advertising bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading services to defraud unsuspecting investors.
According to the CFTC, the defendants in this case mainly targeted Spanish-speaking users.
Most of the victims were from the Spanish-speaking community
CFTC claims five individuals — David Carmona, Juan Arellano Para, Moses Valdez, David Brend and Marco A. Ruiz Ochoa — solicited funds from clients to help them trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but ended up misappropriating users’ funds.
The defendants jointly operate a business called Icomtech, which is purportedly a cryptocurrency trading business. According to the CFTC, between 2018 and 2019, Icomtech said clients would earn daily returns of 0.9 percent and 2.8 percent on crypto trades. The fraudulent scheme also promised to double customers’ investments within four to eight months.
However, the regulator alleges that Icomtech and the above-mentioned defendants did not use the received funds for bitcoin or cryptocurrency transactions, nor did the plan fulfill the above-mentioned promises.
Additionally, the CFTC said Icomtech agents had raised “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worth of funds from more than 170 people in the U.S. and other countries. Additionally, the majority of clients were from the Spanish-speaking community .
In addition to the CFTC enforcement action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) charged five defendants with wire fraud in October 2022 in connection with the Icomtech defrauding business.
CFTC is less crypto-friendly than SEC
Latest enforcement action on the horizonRecords largest Bitcoin involving $3.4B fine at CFTC After the fraud case. The case involved a South African CEO who ran an unregistered commodity pool that solicited bitcoin from people and misappropriated customers’ funds.
Meanwhile, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero recently stated that it is impossible to monitor all of the cryptocurrency space with a lot of fraud happening. According to Romero, 20 percent of the agency’s portfolio includes crypto cases, including lawsuits against crypto giant Binance and bankrupt FTX.
The CFTC commissioner also stated that the regulator should not be viewed as a “more friendly regulator” of the crypto industry than the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has recently more positive attitude.
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