Chicago Latinos Say They Were Lured Into Investing in a Ponzi Scheme – NBC Chicago

“Which Latino would you like to be a millionaire?”

This is how Mauricio Chavez introduced himself to a room full of people, including a group from Chicago, at a conference in Houston, and was posted to YouTube last August.

Mr. Chavez is the CEO of a company called CryptoFX. CryptoFX has been soliciting funds from people in the Latinx community in recent years to invest in cryptocurrencies in exchange for potential wealth. “Already he has over 20 millionaires,” Chavez tells viewers in the video. “More than 5,000 people… Literally Mac[ing] Over $500,000…. And there are many, many, many, many who are paying off literally all their debts. ”

That video is now evidence of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last September, which accused CryptoFX of operating as a “Ponzi scheme,” killing 40,000 people, according to court-appointed recipients. defrauding people. Over $150 million.

The lawsuit alleged that Chavez and his partner Giorgio Benvenuto were “targeting the Latinx community” to raise millions of dollars from people who thought their money would be invested in digital currencies. claims. Instead, the lawsuit states: Went for purposes unrelated to cryptocurrency investments, including real estate…personal spending, and making Ponzi payments. The SEC lawsuit says that Chavez and his company took money from “unsophisticated investors” and tricked them into believing they could “get a 90% return.” [profit] of [just] 6 months. But instead of investing that money, the SEC says Chavez and Benvenuto turned around and paid most of it to previous investors, who were often family and friends. am. The government also alleges that Chavez and Benvenuto spent their investors’ money on themselves for homes, cars, credit cards, luxury retailers, hotels, travel, restaurants, jewelry, adult entertainment, hair salons, etc. I’m here.

Also, CryptoFX is based in Houston, Texas, but it turns out that many of CryptoFX’s customers are here in Chicago.

“I lost $20,000,” says 25-year-old Jose Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho Lopez attends a press conference at City Hall today.

“I lost $200,000,” says Cesareo Molina, who also attended today’s press conference. “Of my life.”

At his press conference, Ald. Sigcho-Lopez asked the Illinois Attorney General’s office to launch a statewide investigation into CryptoFX and its Illinois victims. “I don’t think the authorities are taking this matter seriously,” he said today. “We need to stop the fraud.” Hundreds of people have contacted his office to complain about CryptoFX.

A spokesperson for Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raul said the firm is referring potential victims to the SEC as the agency spearheads a lawsuit against CryptoFX. A website has been set up where victims can e-mail or call the office of the court-appointed trustee to share their story.

Its website is here and contains information about the ongoing case. Dedicated phone line (713-546-5653) and email, Both Attorney General Raul and his SEC recommend using these contacts for anyone dealing with CryptoFX.

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