The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has obtained a final judgment against GAW Miners CEO and fraudster Homero “Josh” Garza, who orchestrated a Ponzi scheme that stole millions of dollars from GAW customers.
As a result of the ruling, Garza will be held liable for disgorged profits of $9,182,000, along with prejudgment interest in the amount of $742,774. Garza must pay the interest within six months to avoid being held in civil contempt. However, the disgorgement penalty will be deemed satisfied by the order of restitution that will be entered following the conclusion of Garza’s criminal trial.
This judgment, which was delivered on October 4, brings the infamous GAW Miners scandal one step closer to its conclusion. As many people will remember, GAW was once one of the most prominent cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturers. The company later began to sell virtual cloud miners known as “Hashlets” that were purportedly backed by physical machines hosted by GAW and its affiliates. However, GAW sold far more hashpower than it actually had, and it used revenue from new customers to pay out “dividends” to earlier adopters–a classic Ponzi scheme.
Eventually, GAW collapsed, and in 2015 the SEC charged Garza and his companies with issuing unlicensed securities and operating a Ponzi scheme. Though Garza initially denied the claims, he pleaded guilty to fraud earlier this year and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5, 2018. The charges against him carry a maximum sentence of 20 years, and he will also likely be required to pay restitution for the more than $9 million he fraudulently obtained from customers.
This ruling adds to the $11 million in disgorgement and civil penalties already levied against GAW Miners and ZenMiner — another of Garza’s now-defunct companies — in an earlier ruling, and the judgment states that some or all of these funds may be distributed to victims of Garza’s Ponzi scheme.
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