Founder of Crypto firm USI Tech charged with fraud of $150 million dollars

On Friday, federal prosecutors unveiled charges against a German entrepreneur, accusing him of orchestrating a crypto fraud scheme that duped investors of over $150 million.

Horst Jicha, is set to face arraignment at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. 

He is accused in an indictment that includes charges of securities fraud, conspiracies to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering related to his involvement in a cryptocurrency venture named USI Tech.

Horst Jicha, the alleged mastermind behind the scam, purportedly presented USI Tech, a company he founded and led as CEO, as a crypto mining and trading platform catering to ordinary retail investors. 

However, prosecutors contend that Jicha and two undisclosed co-conspirators, both high-ranking USI Tech executives, engaged in a deceptive “multilevel marketing scheme” to entice and defraud investors.

Jicha was apprehended upon entering the United States for the first time in over five years on December 23,on route to a vacation in Miami. 

The indictment, revealing four charges against him—securities fraud, conspiracies to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering—was unsealed. He faced arraignment in a Brooklyn federal court on Friday morning.

The prosecution alleges that USI Tech falsely asserted on its website, social media, and during live events that investors could reap returns of up to 140% on crypto investments made through its platform.

Around the spring of 2017, Jicha and his co-conspirators intensively promoted USI Tech, organizing live events, such as one in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. During this event, a co-conspirator allegedly asserted that USI Tech had obtained legal approval from “the very top SEC attorney,” as detailed in the indictment.

As regulatory scrutiny heightened in 2018, prosecutors claim Jicha halted USI Tech’s U.S. operations, preventing investors from withdrawing their funds. Subsequently, approximately $150 million of the investors’ money was allegedly transferred to accounts controlled by Jicha.

In response to the charges, Jicha’s attorneys, Marissel Descalzo and David Tarras, issued a statement expressing their commitment to defending against the allegations and unveiling the facts surrounding Jicha’s involvement with USI Tech. They emphasized the difficulty faced by investors who suffered losses and expressed hope that justice would prevail against the identified wrongdoers.

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