Home / News / Crypto / News / SEC Charges 17 Over CryptoFX “Ponzi Scheme”, Says $300 Million Stolen from 40,000
4 min read

SEC Charges 17 Over CryptoFX “Ponzi Scheme”, Says $300 Million Stolen from 40,000

Last Updated March 15, 2024 12:30 PM
Shraddha Sharma
Last Updated March 15, 2024 12:30 PM
By Shraddha Sharma
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • The SEC charges 17 individuals for their roles in the CryptoFX alleged Ponzi scheme
  • The scheme allegedly defrauded 40,000 investors of $300m.
  • The Ponzi falsely promised high returns from crypto and foreign exchange trading.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged 17 individuals in connection with it calls a $300m Ponzi scheme that predominantly exploited Latino investors. The latest legal action is part of the SEC’s ongoing efforts to dismantle fraudulent operations of crypto businesses. CryptoFX LLC reportedly falsely promised lucrative returns from cryptocurrency and foreign exchange trading.

How the Scheme Operated, According to the SEC

The SEC’s lawsuit, filed  in a Texas federal court, alleges CryptoFX LLC. used its network of salespeople spread across Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, and Florida. It reportedly enticed investors with the prospect of high returns from cryptocurrency and foreign exchange markets. However, according to the SEC, the funds collected were misused to enrich salespeople and executives.

The scheme’s modus operandi was, the SEC says, alarmingly simple. CryptoFX and its agents promised investors returns exceeding 15% by investing in their crypto and foreign exchange trading program. However, instead of channeling these funds into legitimate trading activities, the SEC claims the money was used to make payments to earlier investors — a classic hallmark of a Ponzi scheme. Additionally, funds were diverted for personal use by the defendants and to pay commissions.

Legal Actions by the SEC

The majority of the alleged victims were from the Latino community, lured with promises of “financial freedom” and “risk-free” investments. The scheme reportedly involved swindling $300 million and affecting 40,000 investors across the United States. Some defendants have already settled with the SEC, agreeing to pay penalties without admitting to the allegations. Meanwhile, the legal battle for others includes contesting fraud charges and violating whistleblower protection provisions against specific individuals.

Ponzi schemes use extensive networks and persuasive tactics to defraud unsuspecting investors.

According to the SEC website: “A Ponzi scheme is an investment scam that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.”

The agency explains that Ponzi schemes often include a series of red flags. These warning signs include promises of high investment returns with little or no risk, which is misleading because all investments carry some risk. Additionally, overly consistent returns, regardless of market conditions, should raise suspicion.

Other red flags include  unregistered investments, unlicensed sellers, secretive or complex strategies and fee structures, and the absence of minimum investor qualifications. Investors should also be cautious of investments that are difficult to understand or for which complete information is not provided. Problems with paperwork, difficulty in receiving payments, and investment opportunities that arise within a shared affinity group, possibly endorsed by its respected leaders, are also common indicators of a Ponzi scheme.

SEC Enforcement for Investor Protection

The SEC’s action against the 17 individuals involved in CryptoFX’s alleged Ponzi scheme could represent enforcement action which protects investors.

The case couls also reflect the importance of vigilance towards too-good-to-be-true investment offers.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No