iComTech founder David Carmona arrested in the US
iComTech founder David Carmona has been arrested in the US.
Carmona’s arrest follows indictment by a Grand Jury in the Southern District of New York.
In addition to Carmona, iComTech promoters Marco Ruiz Ochoa, Moses Valdez, Juan Arellano, David Brend and Gustavo Rodriguez have also been indicted and arrested.
BehindMLM reviewed iComTech in October 2018. iComTech was an MLM crypto Ponzi scheme, pitching daily returns of up to 2.8%.
iComTech was primarily promoted to Spanish-speaking communities across the US and Latin America.
At time of publication we weren’t able to pin down who was running iComTech. The Ponzi scheme collapsed in mid to late 2019.
iComTech’s Ponzi marketing ruses were the cryptocurrency mining and trading cliches.
As per Carmona’s indictment;
IcomTech was a Ponzi scheme.
CARMONA and IcomTech ‘ s other Promoters were not trading or mining cryptocurrency.
Instead, CARMONA, OCHOA, VALDEZ, ARELLANO, and BREND, among other IcomTech Promoters, used Victim funds to pay other Victims, to further promote the Scheme to other Victims, and on personal expenditures.
The closest iComeTech ever got to actually generating mining revenue was entering into a hardware agreement for marketing purposes.
In or about September 2018, DAVID CARMONA and MARCO RUIZ OCHOA, the defendants, entered into a contract on behalf of IcomTech to purchase cryptocurrency mining equipment from a legitimate supplier of such equipment (the “Mining Equipment Supplier” ).
After entering into the agreement, CARMONA , OCHOA , and other IcomTech Promoters began touting IcomTech’s purported investment in such hardware sourced from the Mining Equipment Supplier as a means of generating interest among Victims to invest in the Scheme.
In reality, IcomTech did not meet its payment obligations to the Mining Equipment Supplier and never actually received any cryptocurrency mining hardware.
Nevertheless, CARMONA and OCHOA continued to promote IcomTech’ s purported investment with the Mining Equipment
Supplier, even after representatives of the Mining Equipment Supplier threatened CARMONA and OCHOA with legal action.
For example , in or about January 2019, OCHOA sent CARMONA a message from a representative of the Mining Equipment Supplier accusing OCHOA o f using the Mining Equipment Supplier’s ” brand for legitimacy in marketing to recruit .”
In one text message obtained by the DOJ, Carmona explicitly told Gustavo Rodriguez that
negotiations with the Mining Equipment Supplier were just for appearances and that he was just “using them .”
In response, RODRIGUEZ warned CARMONA that this would only work for a limited time, before the Mining Equipment Supplier found out, but in the meantime CARMONA could earn millions of dollars.
As iComTech began to collapse in mid 2019, the company blamed “technical difficulties, alleged hacks, and other mishaps” for withdrawal delays.
iComTech eventually went on to roll out a shitcoin exit-scam.
In or about summer 2019, as more and more Victims began to complain about not being able to withdraw their purported earnings from the Online Portal, which were denoted in Bitcoin, IcomTech’s Promoters, including DAVID CARMONA, MOSES VALDEZ, JUAN ARELLANO , and DAVID BREND, the defendants, told Victims, in substance and in part, that IcomTech would no longer be crediting Victims’ accounts with Bitcoin, but with a proprietary cryptocurrency known as “Icoms .”
IcomTech’s Promoters led Victims to believe that Icoms, which IcomTech initially offered for sale for approximately a few cents, could
eventually reach a value of approximately $1 each or more once they became available on major cryptocurrency exchanges and
accepted by companies for payment for goods and services.
In reality, Icoms were essentially worthless, peaking at approximately $0.01 in or about the fall of 2019 on external exchanges and falling to a fraction of a penny thereafter.
Naturally, iComTech’s collapse posed problems for the Ponzi scheme’s promoters.
On an iComTech conference call, during which an investor confronted David Brend, Brend “admitted, in substance and in part, that he knew
IcomTech was a scam”.
In October 2019, Juan Arellano
sent DAVID CARMONA … an audio recording via text message expressing concerns, in substance and in part, about being brought in front of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission because he (ARELLANO ) and· CARMONA were playing with people’s money.
The DOJ concludes that by the end of 2019;
IcomTech had ceased making payments to Victims, and its chief promoters, including DAVID CARMONA, MARCO RUIZ OCHOA, MOSES VALDEZ , JUAN ARELLANO, and DAVID BREND, the defendants, had stopped promoting the Scheme and, in some instances, stopped responding to Victims altogether.
Most Victims lost their entire investment.
The iComTech joint indictment accuses the defendants each of one count of wire fraud.
The indictment was filed under seal on October 13th, 2022.
A sealed document was filed on October 21st, which I believe pertains to the arrest of David Carmona and Gustavo Rodriguez.
My reasoning for this is there’s no docket entry for Carmona’s or Rodriguez’s arrest, and the indictment was unsealed on November 8th (there are no filings between the Oct 21st sealed filing and order to unseal).
- David Brend was arrested in Florida on November 8th
- Juan Arellano was arrested in California on November 8th
- Marco Ruiz Ochoa was arrested in New Hampshire on November 8th
- Moses Valdez was arrested on November 8th (not sure where)
Carmona made his initial appearance on November 9th, wherein he pleaded not guilty but consented to be held in detention.
Gustavo Rodriguez is scheduled to be arraigned on December 1st.
On November 14th Valdez and Brend had their initial appearances. Brend and Valdez both pled not guilty.
Valdez’s bond was set at $100,000, Brend’s bond was set at $400,000. In addition to travel and travel document restrictions, Valdez and Brend are
- banned from participating in any MLM opportunity;
- banned from participating in any investment opportunity;
- banned from using any more than one cryptocurrency wallet;
- required to disclose all existing owned cryptocurrency wallets to Pre-trial Services
- banned from using any “privacy coins”
On November 16th a pre-trial conference was held.
The DOJ has been ordered to product discovery related to the case by December 16th. A second pre-trial conference has been scheduled for February 7th, 2023.
In the meantime Brend, Arellano and Valdez remain out on bond. Carmona will remain in detention. As previously stated, Rodriguez is awaiting arraignment.
I’m not 100% sure what the current status of Ochoa (right) is. Based on his New Hampshire docket docket, I believe he might still be in temporary detention pending arraignment.
The iComTech indictment seeks forfeiture of all ill-gotten gains from the accused.
It should be noted that David Carmona appears to have still been scamming consumers up until his arrest.
I wasn’t able to personally verify but A BehindMLM reader tied Carmona to PayMoney in April 2022.
Like iComTech, PayMoney was an MLM crypto Ponzi pitching a 200% ROI. PayMoney has already collapsed.
How many other Ponzi schemes Carmona has been behind is unclear. Ditto whether he is/was still working with his indicted iComTech accomplices.
I’ve added the iComTech criminal case to BehindMLM’s calendar. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to track the case.
Update 11th December 2022 – I believe all defendants except David Carmona are now out on bail. Conditions appear identical to those above for Moses Valdez.
Gustavo Rodriguez’s arraignment was held on December 1st. Rodriguez pled not guilty.
Update 11th January 2023 – Juan Arellano’s Initial Appearance was held on December 22nd.
Arellano pled not guilty and was ordered detained pending trial.
Update 8th February 2023 – Due to “ongoing discovery issues”, the scheduled February 7th second pre-trial conference has been rescheduled for April 6th.
Update 7th April 2023 – On March 29th Carmona’s attorney informed the court of a scheduling conflict.
As per an order issued by the court on March 30th;
The April 6, 2023 conference was scheduled two months ago, on January 30, 2023.
Nevertheless, counsel for Mr. Carmona informed the Court of a conflicting vacation plan only 8 days before the long-scheduled appearance.
While the Court will grant this request in light of the government and codefendants’ consent, counsel is cautioned that requests such as these will not be granted in the future.
The April 6th pre-trial conference has been rescheduled for May 10th.
Update 24th May 2023 – As per a May 15th order, the court has scheduled the iComTech criminal trial for February 12th, 2024.
Update 25th May 2023 – The CFTC has filed a civil regulatory lawsuit, alleging the iComTech Defendants committed commodities fraud.
Update 20th December 2023 – Marco Ruiz-Ochoa has pled guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2024.
Owing to a scheduling conflict, the iComTech criminal trial has also been rescheduled for February 28th.
Update 22nd December 2023 – Juan Arellano had a change of plea hearing scheduled for December 19th.
As recorded by the court, he backed out at the last minute “because he would like to retain new counsel.”
Update 11th January 2024 – David Carmona has pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Update 20th January 2024 – Marco Ruiz-Ochoa has been sentenced to five years in prison.