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.

Also read: SEC Moves to Halt Diamond-Linked Crypto ‘Ponzi Scheme,’ Freeze Assets

Read more about...

Court CasesDiamonds
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.