a step.- An El Paso man pleaded guilty in federal court here last week to five counts of wire fraud.
According to court documents, Abner Tinoco, 27, ran a Ponzi scheme through his firm by soliciting millions of dollars in investment from clients and claiming he would invest their money.
In funds dealing with cryptocurrency and foreign exchange markets.
Of the nearly $9 million in investments held in his business accounts, Tinoco has spent more than half on personal expenses including luxury cars, private jets, real estate, and jewelry. Tinoco furthered the deception by providing part of the embezzled funds as profits to its customers.
Tinoco faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison plus restitution and a maximum fine of $250,000 per count. The date for the verdict has not yet been set. A Federal District Court judge will determine any sentencing after considering US sentencing guidelines and other legal factors.
In a separate civil case arising from the above scheme, the CFTC obtained a civil consent decree against Tinoco and his business, imposing a ban relating to the trading activities. The Department of Justice will seek compensation for any additional victims of the Tinoco Plan.
This was announced by U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey of the FBI’s El Paso field office.
The FBI is investigating the case. Assistant US Attorney Shane Romero and Chris Skillern are prosecuting the case.