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CEO of Crypto Ponzi Scheme IcomTech Handed Five-Year Sentence

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The CEO of a large-scale crypto Ponzi scheme known as IcomTech has been sentenced to five bitcoin years in prison and ordered to forfeit $914,000 in criminal proceeds.
On January 19th, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, issued a press release stating that Marco Ruiz Ochoa was sentenced on Friday before a U.S. district judge after previously pleading guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in September.
“Ochoa took advantage of the hype around cryptocurrency to con unsuspecting victims into investing in the IcomTech pyramid scheme,” said U.S. attorney Damian Williams in the release.  “This significant sentence sends a message to anyone considering following in his footsteps: that path leads to serious prison time.”
In addition to his prison sentence and fine, Ochoa was also sentenced to two years of supervised release, according to the Justice Department.
IcomTech, a purported crypto mining and trading company, assured investors of returns in return for their acquisition of supposed cryptocurrency-related investment products.
Ochoa, along with accomplices, claimed to investors that the profits derived from the company’s crypto trading and mining division would result in daily returns.
However, prosecutors stated that IcomTech’s purported crypto trading and mining business was non-existent, with investor funds being utilized for alternative schemes and personal expenses.
A Guise of Success
IcomTech promoters, including Ochoa, organized extravagant expos and smaller community presentations with the intention of enticing individuals to invest in the schemes.
At these events, IcomTech promoters frequently made appearances in high-end vehicles and luxurious clothing, ostensibly to showcase how successful IcomTech was.
“The atmosphere of these events was festive and designed to generate excitement about the schemes,” the prosecutors said.
Starting in August 2018, individuals who sought to withdraw funds from IcomTech’s online portal accounts were met with excuses, delays, and hidden fees.
Despite the growing complaints, IcomTech promoters, including Ochoa, persisted in promoting IcomTech and accepting investments from victims.
As the number of complaints increased, IcomTech attempted to address liquidity issues by offering proprietary crypto tokens for sale. The promoters falsely claimed that these tokens, called “Icoms,” would gain significant value as companies accepted them for payment of goods and services.
However, in reality, “Icoms” turned out to be essentially worthless.
By the end of 2019, IcomTech ceased making payments to victims and the company went bankrupt.

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