SEC secures Emergency Order against $30m fraudulent ICO scheme

Maria Nikolova

The SEC’s complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and financial penalties from Natural Diamonds, Eagle, Argyle Coin, Jose Angel Aman, and Harold Seigel.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announces that it has managed to obtain an Order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in an action targeting an ongoing $30 million Ponzi scheme.

On May 20, the Court granted the SEC’s request for a temporary restraining order and temporary asset freeze against Argyle Coin, LLC, a purported cryptocurrency business, its principal Jose Angel Aman, and other companies charged by the SEC as relief defendants. The court also appointed Jeffrey D. Schneider as a Receiver over Argyle Coin.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Aman operated Argyle Coin as a Ponzi scheme. The fraud is a said to be continuation of a scheme Aman orchestrated with two other companies he owns, Natural Diamonds Investment Co. and Eagle Financial Diamond Group Inc.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Aman engaged in unregistered offerings of securities in Natural Diamonds and Eagle as early as May 2014, falsely promising investors that the companies would invest in whole diamonds to cut down and sell for heavy profits. Aman was assisted by Harold Seigel and Jonathan H. Seigel, who also have interests in Natural Diamonds and Eagle.

The complaint further states that, in October 2017, Aman and Jonathan H. Seigel continued the scheme by luring investors to invest in Argyle Coin, falsely claiming the investment was risk-free because it was backed by fancy colored diamonds, and promising to use investor funds to develop the cryptocurrency business. Instead, according to the complaint, Aman, Natural Diamonds, Eagle, and Argyle Coin, misused or misappropriated more than $10 million of investor funds to pay other investors their purported returns and for Aman’s personal expenses, including rent on his home, purchases of horses, and riding lessons for his son.

The SEC’s complaint charges Natural Diamonds, Eagle, Argyle Coin, Aman, Harold Seigel and Jonathan H. Seigel with violations of the securities registration provisions and also charges Natural Diamonds, Eagle, Argyle Coin and Aman with violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC seeks disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains and prejudgment interest from Natural Diamonds, Eagle, Argyle Coin, Aman, Harold Seigel, and the relief defendants, and financial penalties against Natural Diamonds, Eagle, Argyle Coin, Aman, Harold Seigel and Jonathan H. Seigel.

The action against Argyle Coin marks yet another step by the SEC in its efforts to stop ICO fraudsters. Another example in this respect is the SEC’s action against PlexCorps, also known as PlexCoin. This lawsuit continues at the New York Eastern District Court.

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