SANTA ANA (CNS) - A Santa Ana man was charged in a federal complaint unsealed today in New York with operating an $11 million fraud scheme involving cryptocurrency.
John DeMarr, 55, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. The defendant, who allegedly faked his disappearance to dodge ripped=off investors, made his initial court appearance before a federal judge in Santa Ana on Monday, but his case will be prosecuted in New York.
“The indictment alleges an elaborate scheme in which the defendant conspired to lure unsuspecting investors with fraudulent promises of large returns in the cryptocurrency market, only to divert millions of dollars for his own personal use,'' said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
DeMarr is accused of offering “misrepresentations and false promises that coaxed investors into pouring millions of dollars into fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes, all to facilitate his extravagant lifestyle,'' said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme of the Eastern District of New York.
DeMarr is accused of conspiring with others to induce investors in “Start Options,'' which was represented as an online investment platform offering cryptocurrency mining, trading and digital asset trading, and B2G, represented as an “ecosystem'' allowing users to trade tokens and other digital currencies.
The alleged fraud occurred between 2017 and 2018, with the defendant accused of using an unnamed prominent professional athlete without his consent to endorse the companies' services, prosecutors said.
One promoter for B2G was an unnamed actor known for martial arts films in the 1980s and 1990s who claimed the company could generate an 8,000% return to investors in a year, prosecutors allege.
DeMarr allegedly used investor funds to buy a Porsche, jewelry and do renovations to his home, prosecutors said.
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