The head trader of South Florida-based cryptocurrency platform EmpiresX pleaded guilty in an alleged investment fraud scheme that raised around $100 million from investors, the Justice Department said.
Joshua David Nicholas, of Stuart, Fla., pleaded guilty Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege that Mr. Nicholas and the founders of the firm, which is also known as Empires Consulting Corp., fraudulently claimed their business operated a trading bot using artificial and human intelligence that guaranteed returns to investors. In reality, however, EmpiresX was “a Ponzi scheme” that paid earlier investors with money obtained from later investors, prosecutors allege. The company also failed to register its investment program with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as required.
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