Former CEO of sham crypto miner IcomTech pleads guilty to wire fraud for Ponzi scheme


Marco Ochoa pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Sept. 27 in relation to Ponzi scheme perpetrated by IcomTech. Ochoa was CEO of IcomTech from its founding in 2018 to 2019.

According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, IcomTech promised investors daily returns on investment products offered by the company, which purported to be a crypto mining and trading company. Promoters “hosted lavish expos” and other community events worldwide to attract customers. The company also issued its own token, called an Icom.

Related: Ponzi vs. pyramid schemes: What’s the difference?

The company allegedly did not mine crypto, however, and investors could not withdraw profits they saw accruing in their accounts. The company collapsed in late 2019. Charges were brought against Ochoa and other IcomTech executives in November 2022, and Ochoa faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. 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.”

Ochoa’s plea came a day after Pablo Rodriguez, co-founder of the AirBit Club Ponzi, was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a different judge in the Southern District of New York.

Also, on Sept. 27, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced charges against Mosaic Exchange and its CEO Sean Michael. Mosaic Exchange allegedly lured investors to allow it to enter into “futures, swaps, and leveraged spot transactions in cryptocurrency” on their behalf. CFTC commissioner Kristin Johnson said in a statement on the charges:

“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.”

“In accordance with our existing authority, the CFTC should begin introducing regulation to address gaps that may exist in these novel market structures,” she continued.

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