A man from Washington, D.C., has been charged with running a diamond investment scam with its own cryptocurrency to fund a life of luxury.
- Federal prosecutors in South Florida charged the man, Jose Angel Aman, with wire fraud on Friday.
- Allegations include that Aman and his partners had solicited investors in the U.S. and Canada for a diamond investment scheme, saying he would buy rough-colored diamonds and cut, polish and resell them for profit.
- Promoting the investment as high return and no risk, Aman said the scheme was backed by a $25 million inventory of diamonds, according to the allegations.
- However, the prosecutors claim Aman "rarely" used investments to buy rough diamonds and never refined and resold them; the $25 million inventory was also an alleged falsehood.
- Aman instead made supposed interest payments to earlier investors using newer investors' money and persuaded investors to roll over their investments by falsely claiming their investments were at full value.
- Prosecutors allege that when the scheme, was approaching collapse, Aman launched a purported diamond-back cryptocurrency called Argyle Coin and further solicited investors.
- Again, money from later investors was allegedly used to play "interest" to earlier investors.
- The schemes fleeced "hundreds" of investors for over $25 million, according to the charges, while Aman allegedly used some of the funds to "support his own lavish lifestyle."
- Aman made his initial court appearance in West Palm Beach, Fla., last week.
- Back in May, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission moved to halt the operations of Aman, Argyle coin and other entities he operated over similar allegations.
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