Crypto entrepreneur charged with defrauding investors out of $150 million through marketing scheme

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York stands within the Brooklyn borough of New York City on Jan. 18, 2019.

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Federal prosecutors on Friday announced charges in opposition to a German businessman, alleging he scammed investors out of greater than $150 million in a crypto fraud scheme.

Prosecutors stated Horst Jicha promoted USI Tech, the corporate he based and helmed as its CEO, as a crypto mining and buying and selling platform “accessible to the common retail investor.” But if truth be told Jicha and two unnamed co-conspirators, each USI Tech executives, lured and defrauded investors in a “multilevel marketing scheme,” prosecutors allege.

Authorities stated they arrested Jicha and unsealed an indictment containing 4 prices in opposition to him — securities fraud and conspiracies to commit securities fraud, wire fraud and cash laundering — after he entered the U.S. for the primary time in additional than 5 years on Dec. 23, heading to Miami for trip. He was arraigned in Brooklyn federal courtroom Friday morning.

Prosecutors allege that the corporate falsely claimed on its web site, in social media posts and at in-person occasions that investors may earn as a lot as 140% returns on crypto investments made through its platform.

Around the spring of 2017, Jicha and his co-conspirators started “aggressively selling” USI-Tech, prosecutors stated. There had been reside occasions, together with one in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the place one of Jicha’s co-conspirators claimed USI Tech’s legality had been blessed by “the very prime SEC legal professional,” in response to the indictment.

In 2018, as regulators started scrutinizing USI Tech, prosecutors alleged that Jicha terminated the corporate’s U.S. operations, stopping investors from withdrawing their cash. Since then, round $150 million of that cash has been transferred to accounts managed by Jicha, prosecutors stated Friday.

“It’s at all times tough when investors have suffered losses by the hands of sure dangerous actors,” Marissel Descalzo and David Tarras, Jicha’s attorneys, wrote in an announcement. “We stay up for zealously defending the allegations in opposition to Mr. Jicha and bringing forth the information of his involvement with USI Tech in hopes that the dangerous actors will likely be delivered to justice.”

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