The operator of an alleged block reward mining pyramid scheme which defrauded over 65,000 investors has been indicted in the United States and faces 45 years behind bars if convicted. Mining Capital Coin lured investors with promises of guaranteed returns but ended up defrauding them of over $62 million, authorities said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced fraud charges against the company, founders Luiz Capuci Jr. and Emerson Pires and two other entities they control—CPTLCoin and Bitchain Exchange in connection with fraudulent sales of mining packages, which the regulator described as investment plans. SEC alleges that the two brought in $8.1 million from the sale of the packages and $3.2 million in initiation fees.
The Southern District of Florida has issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants as well as an order to freeze all their assets, according to the securities regulator.
For its part, the Department of Justice (DoJ) unsealed an indictment against the company and its founders for a $62 million global investment fraud scheme. The DoJ claims that Capuci and his company sold mining packages to investors, claiming to have deployed a wide network of block reward mining machines which they claimed would generate substantial profits for them.
In addition, Capuci sold his own token, known as Capital Coin (CPTLCoin) which he claimed was linked to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that was “stabilized by revenue from the biggest cryptocurrency mining operation in the world.”
Capuci didn’t direct any of the funds he raised to block reward mining, but channeled it to his own personal accounts, authorities said.
Capuci further claimed that his company operated trading bots which were using state-of-the-art technology for arbitrage, doing thousands of trades per second. These bots, he said, would generate lucrative returns for investors, even promising as much as 1% daily returns for a period of 52 weeks. This was yet another lie, and authorities said Capuci was diverting all the investment to himself and his cronies.
The MCC ecosystem also functioned as a pyramid scheme. Capuci recruited promoters and affiliates for multi-level marketing, promising them gifts such as Apple watches and luxury vehicles such as Lamborghini and Porsche and even his own personal Ferrari.
DoJ has charged Capuci with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. If convicted of all the charges, the 44-year-old from Port St. Lucie, Florida faces 45 years behind bars.
Anthony Salisbury, the Miami Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations commented, “This case should serve as a warning to any individuals who look to illegally capitalize on the perceived ambiguity of the emerging crypto market to take advantage of innocent investors. HSI will continue to work with our partners to pursue anyone who utilizes these types of schemes to victimize would be customers.”
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