The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has halted a confirmed cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme after it took funds worth $30 million, the regulator confirmed in a press release on May 21.
The principal behind Argyle Coin, Jose Angel Aman, is now subject to legal action for running a Ponzi scheme using funds he gained from investors in his alleged diamond resale outfit.
Aman had previously drawn suspicion over similar diamond-related companies, each promising investors huge returns through the reselling of wholesale diamonds. Argyle Coin, it was claimed, had full backing in the precious stones.
“As alleged, Aman operated a complicated web of fraudulent companies in an effort to continually loot retail investors and perpetuate the Ponzi schemes as well as divert money to himself,” Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office, commented in the release. He added:
“The SEC’s diligent investigative work uncovered the Ponzi schemes and our goal is to bring justice to the harmed investors.”
Named in the indictment are Aman and his companies Natural Diamonds Investment Co. and Eagle Financial Diamond Group Inc., along with Harold Seigel and Jonathan H. Seigel, who assisted him.
In total, Argyle Coin alone involved participation from 300 investors in the U.S. and Canada, with Aman additionally accused of selling unlicensed securities over several years.
The move forms the latest in the SEC’s ongoing crackdown on illegitimate cryptocurrency operators, part of a wide-ranging attempt to legitimize the industry as formal regulations continue to take shape.
As Cointelegraph reported, last year, U.S. regulators jointly launched the so-called Operation Cryptosweep, an investigation targeting compliance from hundreds of initial coin offerings/
“Despite a series of public warnings from securities regulators at all levels of government, cryptocriminals need to know that state and provincial securities regulators are taking swift and effective action to protect investors from their schemes and scams,” Joseph P. Borg, president of convenor the North American Securities Administrators Association, additionally stated in a press release last May.