- Former IconTech CEO Marco Ruiz Ochoa has admitted to running a crypto Ponzi scheme
- Ochoa’s guilty plea comes four months after the United States futures watchdog accused the company’s operators of running a scam
- The CEO can serve up to 20 years in prison
The former CEO of IconTech Marco Ruiz Ochoa has pleaded guilty to charges of running a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme. Ochoa was likely among five people accused by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) of running a scam in the guise of an investment plan. Although the CEO can end up serving up to 20 years in prison, a recent similar case saw the accused charged to 12 years in prison, an indication that law enforcement agencies are interested in successfully prosecuting crypto-related cases.
Hype Around Crypto Births Scams
According to an announcement by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ), Ochoa pleaded guilty before district judge Jennifer Rochon “to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams noted that most crypto scams thrive on “the hype around cryptocurrency.”
CEO of cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme “IcomTech” pleads guiltyhttps://t.co/ov6BMTZ11K
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) September 27, 2023
Williams added that Ochoa’s guilty plea is a sign that law enforcement agencies in the country are ready to investigate crypto crimes. The DoJ disclosed that Ochoa played a key role in promoting the investment scam that promised investors unrealistic yields by purporting to conduct crypto mining and trading.
Available but not Accessible
According to the DoJ, most victims were unable to withdraw their profits from a dedicated online portal despite their accounts displaying the profits. In May, the CFTC claimed the scam targeted Spanish-speaking US citizens easily excited by the idea of a get-rich-quick plan.
Ochoa’s guilty plea comes two weeks after OneCoin co-founder Karl Greenwood was sentenced to 20 years in prison nine months after pleading guilty to financial crime charges. It also comes two months after EminiFX CEO was sentenced to nine years in prison for running an investment scam.
With law enforcement agencies’ continued success in prosecuting crypto crimes, scams are likely to drop.