He operated a Ponzi scheme from El Paso; pleads guilty
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, operated a Ponzi scheme through his business by soliciting millions of dollars in investment from clients and claiming he would invest their money.
in funds that deal with cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange markets.
Of approximately $9 million in investments deposited into his business accounts, Tinoco 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 profit to its clients.
Tinoco faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison plus restitution and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count. A sentencing date has not yet been decided. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other legal factors.
In a separate civil case stemming from the above scheme, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a civil consent decree against Tinoco and his business, imposing a ban related to trading activities. The Department of Justice will work to achieve restitution for any additional victims of Tinoco’s plan.
United States Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey of the FBI El Paso Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI is investigating the case. Assistant US Attorneys Shane Romero and Chris Skillern are prosecuting the case.