IcomTech and Forcount accused of operating a Ponzi scheme
Damian Williams continues to hunt for crypto scammers. The next defendants were the founders and employees of investment companies IcomTech and Forcount. They face imprisonment for fraud, money laundering, and making false statements.
IcomTech and Forcount are companies that have been successfully implementing classic fraudulent schemes in different countries for more than four years. Credulous investors lost hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of their deeds.
With these two indictments, this Office is sending a message to all cryptocurrency scammers: We are coming for you. Stealing is stealing, even when dressed up in the jargon of cryptocurrency,said Damian Williams, attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Ponzi scheme + money laundering
According to the official legend, investing companies IcomTech and Forcount were engaged in mining and crypto trading. They offered specialized investment products that were supposed to bring guaranteed profits. For example, users were promised a daily income and a 200% return within six months.
How did companies win the trust of people and force them to part with their money? A team of executives and promoters from IcomTech and Forcount traveled throughout the USA and other countries. They organized project presentations and large-scale events in many cities, including New York. Their events were designed to showcase investing and compensation plans, as well as their employees' luxurious lifestyles. Often, scammers came to the exhibitions in luxury cars and branded clothing.
Victims paid for investment products with cash, checks, wire transfers, and crypto. After the payment, they got access to an online platform that allowed them to track the movements of the funds. Investors saw profits accumulate but they could not withdraw funds from their accounts. When contacting support service, they were getting only apologies and excuses.
As the number of complaints increased, IcomTech and Forcount began to offer new promising products – their own tokens, known as “Icoms” and “Mindexcoin”. Organizers argued that these coins are designed to pay for goods and services, and their prices will grow. But the actual use case for the tokens was to “pump out” money from investors.
Executives spend money on advertising and the attributes of a luxury lifestyle – real estate, and luxury goods. They laundered money using fictitious firms and large personal purchases to cover their tracks. IcomTech schemes were in effect until the end of 2019, and Forcount schemes until 2021. After that, the company stopped communicating with its customers.
Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent in Charge at Homeland Security Investigations, who was actively involved in the investigation, commented on the allegations:
With high-end clothes and cars, these individuals are alleged to have presented a life of luxury to potential investors, but instead of a lucrative investment opportunity, the victims were fleeced of their savings and left with nothing to show for it. Homeland Security Investigations works tirelessly to uncover financial crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.
The investigation involved the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Police Department, the Department of Financial Services and the Florida Financial Regulatory Authority, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Brazilian Federal Police.
If the guilt of the suspects is proven, they will face up to 20 years in prison.