Florida man pleads guilty to $100M crypto Ponzi scheme


The Department of Justice announced that Joshua Nicholas, a 28-year-old Florida man who acted as head trader for ostensible cryptocurrency platform EmpiresX, pleaded guilty to taking part in a Ponzi scheme that ultimately scammed $100 million from its victims.

Nicholas admitted that, with several unnamed co-conspirators, his company claimed that it used an AI-powered trading bot that would maximize profits. In truth, however, if anyone ever did make money from the scheme, it came from the deposits of later investors, which is pretty much the definition of a Ponzi scheme. The company also claimed it had registered the investment program as an offering and sale of securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission, though in truth it had never taken any steps to do so.

Nicholas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

All investor victims of the EmpiresX scheme are encouraged to visit this webpage to identify themselves as potential victims and obtain more information on their rights as victims, including the ability to submit a victim impact statement.

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