Co-founder of fraudulent crypto scheme Zima Digital Assets pleads not guilty

Maria Nikolova

Zachary Salter, who claims he co-founded Zima Digital Assets along with Kryp+0 K!ng John Michael Caruso, has pleaded not guilty in a fraud case.

Shortly after “crypto king” John Michael Caruso pleaded not guilty, another of the operators of fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme Zima Digital Assets has submitted the same plea.

On March 4, 2020, arraignment as to Zachary Salter, a co-founder of Zima Digital Assets, was held at the Arizona District Court. Salter entered plea of NOT guilty to all pending counts. Jury Trial has been set for 4/7/2020.

John Michael Caruso, 28, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Zachary Salter, 27, of Paradise Valley, Arizona, were arrested on January 30, 2020, and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

The Indictment in this criminal case alleges that Caruso and Salter operated Zima Digital Assets, a purported cryptocurrency investment fund, which, in reality, was a fraud. Caruso and Salter received more than $9 million from victims but the funds were not used for the purchase of cryptocurrency or other “blockchain based assets”. Instead, Caruso and Salter returned about $2 million of the deposits to early investors as purported investment profits. The rest of the money they spent on extravagant items, such as private jets, vacations, luxury car rentals, and casino gambling.

The Indictment enlists a raft of misrepresentations made by the duo behind Zima Digital Assets, including false statements in the contracts with the investors, as well as false claims in direct messages to investors.

If convicted of one or more of the offenses in the Indictment (that is, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering), the defendants will also have to forfeit all property derived from the offenses.

Those who believe they may have invested money with Caruso or Salter, or their alleged cryptocurrency investment fund, Zima Digital Assets, are advised to contact Special Agent Lamerson or Special Agent Roper at the U.S. Secret Service, Phoenix Field Office, via telephone at (602) 640-5580.

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