VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. -- Three men were arrested Tuesday in connection with a cryptocurrency mining scheme, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
The attorney's office said Joseph Abel of Camarillo, 49, was part of the scheme.
The justice department said three men lured unsuspecting investors with promises of large return on investments in a bitcoin mining pool.
“What they allegedly did amounts to little more than a modern, high-tech Ponzi scheme that defrauded victims of hundreds of millions of dollars," U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. "Working with our law enforcement partners here and across the country, we will ensure that these scammers are held to account for their crimes.”
Investigators said the scheme began in April 2014 and ended in December 2019. They said the defendants allegedly made hundreds of millions of dollars by continuing to recruit new investors over several years.
“Today’s indictment alleges the defendants were involved in a sophisticated Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars that preyed upon investors all over the world,” John R. Tafur, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, said
The wire fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. The conspiracy to sell unregistered securities charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000, according to a news release from the District Attorney's Office.