The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged California-based Vista Network Technologies and its Chief Executive, Armen Temurian, for fraudulently soliciting more than $7 million in Bitcoin and Ethereum from customers.
CFTC Charges Vista and Its CEO
The official press release on Thursday alleged that Vista and CEO Temurian misappropriated a portion of the customer funds by running a Ponzi-styled scheme, in which they paid off old investors with the proceeds collected from the new ones.
The complaint filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York by the US commodities market regulator detailed that the defendants falsely advertised and marketed their schemes from September 2017 until January 2018.
Vista, under the leadership of Temurian, claimed to be using “Robot Traders” for trading with Bitcoin and Ethereum collected from the customers. Further, it assured a daily return of at least 2.5 percent. At this rate, investors could double the value of their digital asset investment in merely 80 days.
However, the regulatory complaint alleged that the company “never traded customer assets and did not have any trading program capable of generating the promised returns.” The company even used new investors’ assets to pay returns to investors who had invested earlier in the scheme, making it a classic Ponzi scheme.
“This action demonstrates our ongoing commitment to use the tools at our disposal to hold bad actors accountable in the digital asset space,” said Gretchen Lowe, the Acting Director of Enforcement at the CFTC. “It is just one more example of the CFTC’s efforts to protect retail customers from fraud related to digital asset commodities.”
Fund Recovery in Progress
The regulatory agency is now seeking to recover the funds collected by Vista from its customers and is moving to impose civil penalties against the company and its CEO. In addition, it is seeking permanent trading and registration bans on the defendants and a permanent injunction for further violation of US commodities regulations.
CFTC has become a prominent agency for cracking down against fraudulent crypto schemes in the United States. Last year, it busted a $44 million crypto Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 170 investors.
Most recently, CFTC brought fraud and market manipulation charges against Avraham Eisenberg, who publicly admitted his role in draining over $110 million in digital assets from the decentralized crypto exchange, Mango Markets. It was the first enforcement action for fraud and manipulation of a decentralized platform through “oracle manipulation.”
Earlier today, Finance Magnates reported that the US securities regulator charged collapsed stablecoin issuer Terraform Labs and its CEO, Do Kwon, for securities fraud. Furthermore, Kwon is a wanted man in South Korea, but his whereabouts are currently unknown.