Daily fraud update: 6th February

Chris Lee

Bosses at Zima taken into custody

Senior figures at a cryptocurrency firm called Zima Digital Assets have been taken into custody following their arrests.

The two men, who are both from the US state of Arizona, were arrested last week and have since been charged with criminal complaints.

They face accusations of conspiring to commit wire fraud as well as money laundering.

John Michael Caruso, who is 28 years old and of Scottsdale, and Zachary Salter, who is 27 years old and of Paradise Valley, will now face the judicial process.

According to a statement from the US Department of Justice, anybody who thinks that they could have been a victim of the alleged crimes of the pair behind Zima ought to get in touch.

“If you believe you may have invested money with Caruso or Salter—or their alleged cryptocurrency investment fund, Zima Digital Assets—please contact Special Agent Lamerson or Special Agent Roper at the U.S. Secret Service, Phoenix Field Office, via telephone at (602) 640-5580”, the statement said.

It also went on to outline the nature of a “criminal complaint”, which is what has been levelled against the two men.

“A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt”, it said.

“An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”, it added.

Alleged OneCoin scam set to be transformed into drama

One of the most dramatic and large-scale alleged crypto frauds of recent years looks set to be turned into a television drama.

The story of the OneCoin scheme, which has already been turned into a podcast on BBC Sounds in the UK, looks set to become a televised drama thanks to the firm New Regency Television International.

It beat various other companies, including 20th Century TV and A24, to secure the rights.

It is understood that the programme will focus on the story of Dr. Ruja Ignatova, the woman who headed up the OneCoin scheme and who has since been accused of mass-scale crypto fraud.

Two producers from the firm, Ed Rubin and Emma Broughton, will be responsible for producing the programme.

The co-writers of the now-famous podcast, Jamie Bartlett and Georgia Catt, will also be responsible.

The story of Ignatova, who is on the run, and OneCoin have gripped the crypto trading world in recent months.

Ignatova is accused of scamming a wide range of investors as part of the scheme, which has since been broadly accepted to have been a Ponzi scheme.

It is believed that traders had invested a maximum of $5bn into the scheme.

While various officials involved with the scheme have been arrested, Ignatova herself has still evaded authorities.

She disappeared in 2017 and has not been located since.

Chris Lee

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