Posted: 21 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST
The Securities and Exchange Commission nabbed a multi-million dollar crypto pyramiding operation for allegedly and illegally raising $26 million from investors. The crypto pyramiding scam is owned by a businessman, Daniel Pacheco, 45, a resident of San Clemente, California who has been charged by the SEC with selling unregistered securities as well as operating a multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency pyramid scheme. A civil injunction was filed by the SEC against Pacheco.
According to the press release by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Pacheco operated between Jan. 2017 and Mar. 2018 and sold unregistered securities through the California-based companies he controls, IPro Solutions LLC and IPro Network LLC. A total of $26 million were raised from the illegal operation by selling "IPro Packages" that consisted of e-commerce lessons on how to make profits with an online store as well as providing its customers with a recruitment-based compensation plan and the ability to convert points into IPro's own 'cryptocurrency,' Pro Currency.
The crypto money, Pro Currency, is listed on CoinMarketCap as "ProCurrency" with the abbreviation of "PROC" and currently has an ROI of -98.66 percent. Since January 2018, PROC has been in a continuous decline, falling from $0.10 down to as low as $0.0013.
More than 20,000 members in 14 months
Pacheco told investors, in an effort to recruit them into joining his business, that they will be exclusively using Pro Currency as they aim to build an ecosystem that would increase the value of the cryptocurrency in the long run. Furthermore, the investor also had the choice to pay an addition $50 annual activation fee to become active members with potential advancements to becoming independent sales associates or premium independent sales associates. With this and many other more promises, Pacheco managed to grow IPro's member base rapidly to 20,000.
The SEC argues that since the company is selling the iPro instructional packages involve "an investment in a pyramid scheme; and an investment in the PRO Currency digital assets," Pacheco should have registered it with the SEC because the case involving iPro merits no exemption from registration.
"We allege that Pacheco hid an old fraud under the guise of cutting-edge technology," said Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC's Los Angeles Regional Office. "He enticed investors by offering them the opportunity to speculate in cryptocurrency, when in fact, he was simply operating a pyramid scheme."
The SEC's complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, charges Pacheco with violating Sections 5(a), 5(c), 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder. There were seven relief claimants as face cases of the complaint, and they are suing the company so that the company will return their resources. No charges were filed against the investors involved in the case.
Mismanagement of funds ends operations
The SEC said that the illegal business had earned Pacheco enough money to purchase a luxury house and a Rolls Royce.
"IPro's inevitable collapse was hastened by Pacheco's fraudulent use of investor funds, which included, among other things, the all-cash purchase of a $2.5 million home and a Rolls Royce. Pacheco's misappropriation accelerated the rate at which IPro became unable to pay the commissions and bonuses due to its investors," reads the press release.
According to the SEC, Pacheco also transferred $1.9 million to Accept Success Corporation, the company owned by his daughter but is also controlled by Pacheco, and $2 million to E Profit Systems LLC, a limited liability company that he also managed and used to retain $600,000 of IPro funds unreasonably.
The alleged mismanagement of IPro's funds and the asset has caused the company to decline fast leaving them no choice but to run away from paying the bonuses and commissions of their investors, the SEC said. While Pacheco only needs to allocate 30% of the company's asset to pay out their investors and member, they were only able to pay less than 30% of their payables in January which lead them to cease their operations in March.
"Pacheco engaged in a fraudulent pyramid scheme by soliciting IPro members through false and misleading means, including websites, promotional conferences, and in-person meetings, in which he touted the profit-making aspects of IPro's iPN Compensation Plan, while at the same time diverting IPro funds for his own benefit."
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