Zachary Salta, the co-founder of Zima Digital Assets, pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him at the Arizona District Court yesterday.
Zima Digital Assets is an alleged cryptocurrency investment fund that claims to use funds from investors in the purchase of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-related assets. They had reportedly gotten more than $9 million from investors and had given early investors about $2 million as the returns of their investment.
It was later discovered, however, that the scheme was a fraud and that the remainder of the funds were used in the purchase of luxury items such as private jets, luxury car rentals, casino gambling, and expensive vacations.
According to a report by Finance Feeds, Salta, aged 27, and his colleague, John Michael Caruso, aged 28, had been arrested on January 30, 2020, and charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges included false statements and claims that were made in contracts and direct messages to their investors.
Earlier in February, Michael Caruso was arraigned before the Arizona District Court, and he made the same plea of “not guilty.”
Both Salta and Caruso are set to be tried by the jury on July 4. If convicted of the offenses they are charged with, the duo will have to relinquish all the properties obtained from the crime.
In the meantime, victims of the alleged crypto fraud scheme are urged to contact agents of the US Secret Service to lay their complaints.
The occurrence of cryptocurrency fraud schemes is becoming increasingly popular, and many people are being lured into it with fake promises of huge returns that can be gotten within a short time. One of such crypto fraud is the Ugandan crypto startup, Dunamiscoin, that defrauded thousands of Ugandans of more than $2 million.