US Marshals Have Arrested German Crypto Fraudster Horst Jicha In Florida For Operating A Ponzi Scheme

German Crypto Fraudster
Horst Jicha

US Marshals have arrested a German crypto fraudster in Broward County a few days before Christmas. The federal indictment accuses Horst Jicha of running a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.

The Department of Justice indicted Jicha with conspiracy to defraud the United States. The indictment says he used manipulative or deceptive devices, attempt and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering in New York. 

It’s not clear what Jicha was doing in South Florida at the time of his arrest. He resides in Spain and Brazil. He was booked into the Broward County jail Friday on a US Marshals hold. However, he was no longer listed in local jail records as of Wednesday morning.

According to the indictment issued in late August, Jicha was a founder and the CEO of a company called “USI-Tech.”

USI-Tech is purportedly incorporated in the United Arab Emirates. The company claims to make “cryptocurrency mining and trading accessible to the average retail investor through its online platform.”

The indictment also includes unnamed co-conspirators.

Did Alleged German Crypto Fraudster Horst Jicha Run A Ponzi Scheme Or Was It A MLM Business Model?

german crypto fraudsterUSI-Tech, short for “United Software Intelligence,” used a multilevel marketing sales strategy. Prosecutors allege that in 2017, Jicha and others aggressively promoted the company in the United States. They falsely promising 140% returns over 140 days on a 50-euro “BTC package.”

Cryptocurrency news website CoinCentral described the company as a “classic crypto Ponzi.”

Jicha allegedly urged investors to buy multiple packages to compound their returns.

Prosecutors also allege the multilevel marketing aspect of the company allowed Jicha to distance himself from any false claims. 

In addition, Authorities also allege that Jicha assured investors USI-Tech was “not a ‘scam’ or a ‘Ponzi scheme’.” He claimed he spent untold amounts of money to make sure that everything was “legal” in the U.S.

Regulators in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces began focusing attention on USI-Tech in late 2017 and early 2018. The indictment also states that states and provinces began issuing cease and desist orders against the company. The cease and desist orders soon stopped the company from operating there.

Prosecutors claim Jicha sent an email to investors on Jan. 8, 2018, blaming them for the company’s closure. However, he claimed later that month that they could resume marketing the products. In March, stating that the company would repay investors through a “BTC 2.0 Package.”

But investors were never able to withdraw their money, according to the indictment, and Jicha began ghosting them. Prosecutors said $94 million worth of Bitcoin and Ether cryptocurrencies would end up in an account controlled by Jicha.

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