IcomTech owners convicted in crypto Ponzi scheme

A New York jury has found David Brend and Gustavo Rodriguez, former promoters of the crypto mining and trading company IcomTech, guilty of wire fraud conspiracy.

Both face up to 20 years in prison for their involvement in what has been described as a “Ponzi” scheme. The verdict was issued on March 14 after a two-week trial in a New York District Court.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, IcomTech was marketed as a crypto mining and trading firm following its launch in mid-2018 by founder David Carmona, who had enlisted Rodriguez to create a website for the company. The firm falsely promised investors guaranteed daily returns from its crypto trading and mining operations.

Prosecutors revealed that IcomTech did not engage in any trading or mining activities. Instead, it operated as a Ponzi scheme, using new investor funds to pay returns to earlier investors. Rodriguez contributed to the deception by advising on the pricing of “investment packages” and fabricating daily returns accessible to investors through the website and a portal he managed.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office disclosed that Brend and other promoters of the scheme spent large sums of investor money on personal expenses, including real estate and travel. They also organized extravagant events to attract more investors, promising luxury lifestyles and financial freedom.

As the scheme began to unravel, with investors unable to withdraw their profits and facing excuses, delays, and hidden fees, IcomTech introduced a token called “Icoms” in a bid to raise additional funds. The token, which was falsely claimed to be accepted for payments by various companies, was essentially worthless, leading to further losses for investors. IcomTech collapsed in 2019, ceasing all payments.

The court accused the operation of defrauding tens of thousands of individuals out of millions of dollars, exploiting working people’s savings.

Sentencing Brend is scheduled for June 27, followed by Rodriguez’s sentencing on June 28. Marco Ochoa, IcomTech’s former CEO, received a five-year prison sentence in January after pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy. David Carmona, the founder, also pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy in December.