Brazilians are indicted in the United States for fraud of US$ 100 million

Men accused of global cryptocurrency fraud scheme by EmpiresX company

REUTERS/Data Ruvic
Three Brazilians defaulted on EmpiresX company investors

Three South Florida residents in the United Stateswere indicted this Thursday, 30, by a federal jury on charges of being part of a global fraud scheme cryptocurrencies which generated about US$100 million (R$525 million, at the current exchange rate) in illicit proceeds, according to the Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. Emerson Pires, 33, Flavio Gonçalves, the same age, and Joshua David Nicholas, 28, who live in the city of Stuart, were charged with “conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud” and the first two were also charged with “conspiracy to commit international money laundering”. According to the indictment, the Brazilians Pires and Gonçalves founded the EmpiresX, an unregistered cryptocurrency investment and securities offering platform. Pires and Gonçalves, along with Nicholas, “fraudulently promoted EmpiresX” by misleading investors about, among other things, an alleged trading “bot” that they claimed could generate guaranteed returns for investors in EmpiresX, the indictment said in a statement.

The first two then laundered investors’ funds through an offshore cryptocurrency exchange, and prepaid EmpiresX investors with money obtained from later investors following a fraudulent pyramid scheme. “Our office is committed to protecting investors against sophisticated scammers looking to capitalize on the relative novelty of digital currency,” said South Florida District Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez. “As with any emerging technology, those who invest in cryptocurrencies should be wary of profit opportunities that seem too good to be true,” warned Gonzalez. Anthony Salisbury, a Miami special agent for Homeland Security Investigations, said, “This case should serve as a warning to anyone seeking to illegally capitalize on the perceived ambiguity of the cryptocurrency market to take advantage of unsuspecting investors.”

*With information from EFE

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