Man Sentenced To 6 Years For His Role In $25 Million Diamond And Crypto Ponzi Scheme
A South Florida federal district judge recently sentenced a man and his partners to six years in federal prison for operating a $25 million diamond and crypto investment scheme.
The accused, Jose Angel Amen, and his partners were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II of the Southern District of Florida for soliciting funds from people in the United States and Canada for purported diamond contracts. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the accused managed to dupe hundreds of investors between May of 2014 and 2019. At the time, Aman promised the investors that their money was being used to purchase rough colored diamonds for him and his partners to cut, polish, and resell at a profit. The DOJ further explained:
“They reassured investors that their money was safe because it was secured by Aman’s inventory of diamonds (purportedly valued at $25 million). Aman and his partners presented the investment as a high return, no-risk deal.”
Notably, when the scheme was about to end, Aman changed his strategy and added cryptocurrency to the mix. He set up a new company called Argyle Coin. The new company was in “the business of developing a cryptocurrency token backed by diamonds.”
According to the DOJ, through the new company:
“Aman solicited new investors for Argyle, promising high rates of return with no risk. Aman used only a fraction of the money received from Argyle investors to develop a cryptocurrency token. He used most of it to pay purported interest payments to the earlier investors and to benefit himself and his partners.”
In his sentencing, the Judge also ordered the accused to pay over $23 million in restitution to the victims.
Belgium: Crypto scammers target male tinder users with fake ICO
The Belgian regulator, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), recently warned its citizens against a growing crypto scam on Tinder.
As per the warning, scammers are using what FSMA has termed as an ’emotional scam’ to further their activities. These scammers having to target male users on Tinder promising them exceptional returns on their investments. Reportedly, the scammers have been using women profiles that feature “pictures of charming women” (usually of Asian descent.) The scammers usually initiate a contract by dropping a Super like on the targeted victim. The scammer manages to move the conversation to Whatsapp where the scammer displays their “money and financial statuses.” The curious victims ask how the scammer is making their money. The scammers then send a link and convince the victim to invest in a fake ICO and disappear as soon as they get the money from their victims.
France crackdown on cryptocurrency activities citing terrorism financing
Bruno Le Maire, the Finance Minister of France recently announced his plans to harden the Know Your Customer requirement for all cryptocurrency providers. This is meant at curbing the financing of terrorist activities. Citing an incident that happened in Septemeber 2019 when a terrorist group financed itself with anonymous crypto accounts, the Minister stated :
“We must drain the euro from all terrorist financing channels.”
In this latest announcement, the Minster asked crypto asset service providers to completely ban anonymous crypto wallets. He emphasized the need for regulations for international companies planning to enter the French crypto market.
Notably, businesses operating in the current crypto market are required to identify and verify beneficial owners of cryptocurrency transactions. As per the official press release, the new provision will be “presented to speed up the launch of the market for digital identity solutions for digital asset transactions.” The statement read in part:
“This ordinance strengthens the fight against the anonymity of transactions in digital assets by including digital asset service providers (PSAN) among the entities having the ban on keeping anonymous accounts…This request, which emanates from actors in the ecosystem, will make it possible to fight against anonymity transactions in digital assets while facilitating user identification.”
Standard Bank to Launch Crypto Trading for Institutional Investors in 2021
The Standard Chartered Bank in London recently announced that it will be launching crypto trading for its Institutional Investors. As per the report by an unnamed source, Standard Chartered’s crypto trading group will comprise of five over the counter (OTC) traders and four exchanges.
The source also revealed that the first test trade will be next month. They added:
“I think the first test trade will be next month and I’d say it’ll end up involving the 10 biggest exchanges in digital.”