Emerson Pires, 33, and Flavio Goncalves, 33, both of Brazil, were also indicted in connection ion with a global cryptocurrency-based fraud that generated around $100 million in revenues from investors. The indictment charges all three with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. The indictment also charges Pires and Goncalves with conspiracy to commit international money laundering.
Pires and Goncalves founded EmpiresX, a cryptocurrency investment platform and unregistered securities offering. Pires and Goncalves, along with Nicholas, the company’s “Head Trader,” fraudulently promoted EmpiresX, according to prosecutors. They misled investors about, among other things, a purported proprietary trading “bot” that they claimed could generate guaranteed returns to investors in EmpiresX, prosecutors allege.
Pires and Goncalves then laundered investors’ funds through a foreign-based cryptocurrency exchange, and paid out early EmpiresX investors with money obtained from later investors in a Ponzi-style scheme, according to the indictment.