A $300M Ponzi Scheme That Targeted Latinos Falsely Claimed to Buy Crypto, SEC Says

The SEC charged 17 individuals tied to the scheme that allegedly scammed more than 40,000 victims.

AccessTimeIconMar 14, 2024 at 8:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 14, 2024 at 8:42 p.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued 17 individuals tied to an alleged Ponzi scheme that took in $300 million from over 40,000 victims.

The defendants, who targeted the Latino community in 10 U.S. states and two other countries, convinced investors that their funds would be invested in crypto and other assets, but weren't, the SEC said in a press release.

The SEC charged a total of 17 defendants, two of whom settled.

In a statement, SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal said the scheme promised "life-altering wealth" to victims.

"The only thing that CryptoFX guaranteed was a trail of thousands upon thousands of victims stretching across 10 states and two foreign countries," he said. "A scheme of that size requires lots of participants, and as today's action demonstrates, we will pursue charges against not just the principal architects of these massive schemes, but all those who further their fraud by unlawfully soliciting victims."

The SEC had previously charged Mauricio Chavez and Giorgio Benvenut, the scheme's leaders, in an emergency action last October.

Thursday's filing expands the number of defendants and says at least two of them, Gabriel and Dulce Ochoa, continued soliciting investors past last year's action.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.