The CFTC has filed lawsuits against the perpetrators of the EmpowerCoin, ECoinPlus, and JetCoin Ponzi schemes.
Dwayne Golden, Jatin Patel, Marquis Demarking Egerton (aka Mardy Eger), and Gregory Aggesen are accused of defrauding millions of dollars through the schemes.
Dwayne Golden is a Florida-based US citizen.
Jatin Patel is a Maharashtra-based Indian citizen.
Mardy Eger is a citizen of the United States who lives in North Carolina.
Gregory Aggesen is a New York-based US citizen.
The CFTC’s complaint covers actions that occurred between April and August 2017.
The defendants worked with an unknown accomplice, who appears to be collaborating with US officials, according to the complaint.
EmpowerCoin was run by Dwayne Golden (right), Jatin Patel, and Mardy Eger, according to the CFTC.
EmpowerCoin, which was reviewed on BehindMLM in May 2017, offered investors a 200 percent bitcoin ROI in 90 days or fewer.
EmpowerCoin was relaunched as ECoinPlus after it went bankrupt.
JetCoin was run by Golden, Patel, Greg Aggesen, and an unknown accomplice.
I think the accomplice is JetCoin Master Distributor Scott Chandler, but I can’t be certain.
Chandler was sued by the Federal Trade Commission in 2018 for promoting and benefiting from JetCoin and other Ponzi scams.
JetCoin offered investors a 200 percent ROI in 40 to 50 days, according to a review on BehindMLM in June 2017.
With JetCoin’s relaunch, the fixed return model was replaced with daily return rates.
Trading provided external revenue in the form of EmpowerCoin, ECoinPlus, and JetCoin.
The trading ruse was dropped in JetCoin 2.0. There was no attempt to disguise the fact that it was a Ponzi scam.
The CFTC verifies that no trading took occurred in their complaint.
Defendants’ purported gains to consumers have looted monies from other customers, as in other Ponzi schemes.
Because the Ecoinplus Defendants did not employ traders and did not trade Bitcoin, the guaranteed returns and commission payments were entirely fictitious, and those amounts could only be paid to the extent that new customer investments were available to be redistributed to existing customers, the guaranteed returns and commission payments were entirely fictitious.
Because the JetCoin Defendants did not employ traders and did not trade Bitcoin, and because the guaranteed returns and commission payments were entirely fictitious, those amounts could only be paid to the extent that new customer investments were available to be redistributed to existing customers, the guaranteed returns and commission payments were entirely fictitious.
Consumers contributed $23.2 million to EmpowerCoin and ECoinPlus.
Dwayne Golden, Jatin Patel, and Mardy Eger stole over half of the $9.86 million invested in EmpowerCoin and ECoin Plus.
JetCoin made a $21.7 million profit.
Golden, Patel, Greg Aggesen (right), and an unknown accomplice took more than 36% of the $7.884 invested in JetCoin.
Defendants were, are, or will be engaged in manipulative and deceptive acts concerning contracts of sale of a commodity in interstate commerce, in violation of Section 6(c)(1) of the Commodity Exchange Act (the “Act”), as amended, 7 U.S.C. 9(1) (2018), and Regulation 180.1(a), 17 C.F.R. 180.1(a)(1)-(3) (2020).
The defendants were aware they were executing frauds, according to internal communications produced by the CFTC.
Golden revealed EmpowerCoin in a voice message sent in May 2017 to an unnamed receiver.
They were unable to continue functioning as before because he had “moved a lot of the money into other operations,” implying that they would not be able to pay commissions as promised.
Patel responded by suggesting that he and Golden work together.
Only collect money from newly invested bitcoin to keep the scheme continuing, stating that the bitcoin in the system was the “lowest so far since we started” and that they had each made over half a million dollars at the time.
Patel offered them and Eger as an alternative later that day (right)
begin “paying” themselves their plundered portions of client bitcoin investments on “profit” rather than “gross” to keep the business operating longer – that is, to collect their shares after making Ponzi payments to other customers rather than before.
“We made a lot of money the previous four days,” Patel said. “We can wait to take moremakeey.”
Patel mentioned in a voice message on June 1st, 2017, that
“As long as people keep joining,” EmpowerCoin and ECoinPlus might continue to operate.
Golden protested Patel when he was linked to EmpowerCoin because he wanted to profit from fraud but not be affiliated with it.
Golden protested to Patel in a voice mail on May 10, 2017, that his name was tied with EmpowerCoin’s domain registration and that EmpowerCoin members claimed he controlled the firm.
He informed Patel that the website was “intended to be registered outside the nation,” and he asked Patel to “reverse” the registration, indicating that he hoped his name was mistakenly connected with it.
On May 16, 2017, an employee of Golden’s business wrote to Egerton, stating that she would be putting up “an anonymous Gmail” to handle customer communications over a virtual private network, making it “untraceable to us.”
The same employee stated in a voice message to Golden on May 25, 2017, that the staff answering customer emails had been told not to disclose any information regarding Ecoinplus’ ownership and that all employees were required to retain their identity.
Golden encouraged people in an audio message on June 13, 2017.
Patel should avoid being affiliated with Empowercoin/Ecoinplus as much as possible.
The resurrection of EmpowerCoin, ECoinPlus, failed in July 2017.
Dwayne Golden earned $1.27 million of the $9.86 million stolen. Jatin Patel took home $7.2 million, while Mardy Eger took home $1.21 million.
JetCoin has a similar tale, with Golden and Patel as the common denominator.
Golden and Patel went to great lengths to keep Eger in the dark about their engagement in JetCoin, and Aggesen and the accomplice in the dark about their role in EmpowerCoin/ECoinPlus.
Although both were short-lived, there was some overlap between the collapse of ECoinPlus and the creation of JetCoin.
On May 24, 2017, Golden indicated in a voice message to Patel that he didn’t want to create an “imbalance” between the two organizations because “we’re earning fantastic money from both,” and referred to the two as “partners.”
“Royal foes” are entities that compete with each other.
Just in case there was any doubt that the con artists understood what they were doing, here’s proof.
Golden stated on June 1, 2017, that he admired JetCoin but understood it had a “termination date,” that it would not function in the long run, and that it was designed for “fast money.”
Aggesen informed the Accomplice in a voice message on June 30, 2017, that the biggest error they made with JetCoin was not “sticking with the story” and that “there was trade going on.”
He linked it to a separate, earlier scam he labeled a “Ponzi,” noting that both individuals understood the alleged trade “wouldn’t sustain any system anyway over a long period.”
The Accomplice claimed in a voice message to Aggesen on July 1, 2017, that “no one believes in such trash,” referring to “those who want to sit by and get money without doing anything,” implying that the passive guaranteed payouts should have been clear to potential clients.
“This entire business of coming in and putting your money into something and getting money for nothing, that’s such a farce,” Aggesen stated to the Accomplice in another audio message. I didn’t have time to consider the entire notion here since everything happened so quickly, trading or no trading.”
The Accomplice informed Aggesen in a message on July 2, 2017, that JetCoin needed additional client deposits to “remain alive,” and that if the site didn’t get 250 Bitcoin per day, it would fail or force the operators to pay out-of-pocket.
Payment issues with JetCoin began in early June 2017.
Patel forecasted that the following day or the day after would be the final day JetCoin will be able to make the guaranteed daily and commission payments to consumers in a phone message to Golden on June 13, 2017.
To keep the Ponzi continuing, JetCoin’s daily payouts were cut from 4-5 percent to 1.1 percent towards the end of the month.
Affiliates that persuaded others to invest 20 BTC in new JetCoin volume received a 3.3 percent bonus.
By the end of the month, join had completely crashed.
The next month, JetCoin 2.0 was released, however, it was also short-lived.
In or around August 2017, the JetCoin Defendants and the Accomplice permanently shut down the JetCoin website and stopped responding to consumer complaint queries.
For fear of consumer outrage, the JetCoin Defendants and the Accomplice made every attempt to avoid being identified with the websites.
For example, after Aggesen complained about “beating up” by JetCoin customers in a phone message on June 30, 2017, the Accomplice recommended on July 1, 2017, that he and Aggesen inform consumers that they were introduced to JetCoin by Patel and that they had no idea who the proprietors were.
The administration is keeping $7.884 in JetCoin money.
Dwayne Golden was compensated with $1.128 million.
Jatin Patel was compensated with $4.896 million.
$1.351 million was awarded to Aggesen.
The anonymous accomplice was compensated with $509,000.
In August, JetCoin 2.0 was relaunched as My Digital BTC. By mid-September, my Digital BTC was completely depleted.
Two charges of using a manipulative or misleading device or artifice are alleged in the CFTC’s complaint.
The CFTC is seeking a permanent injunction, as well as disgorgement, restitution, a civil monetary penalty, and post-judgment interest from the defendants.
The Department of Justice has brought parallel criminal charges against the defendants.
Keep an eye out for developments as we follow both situations.
The CFTC’s case is now available on Pacer, as of March 9th, 2022.
The complaint was filed on March 8th, and there have been no significant changes since then. In a few days, I’ll return.