A California man was charged in a complaint unsealed today for his alleged participation in a coordinated cryptocurrency and securities fraud scheme that used purported digital currency platforms and foreign-based financial accounts.
John DeMarr, 55, of Santa Ana, was charged in a complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. DeMarr made his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Early of the Central District of California. Judge Early referred the case to the Eastern District of New York for further proceedings.
“The indictment alleges an elaborate scheme in which the defendant conspired to lure unsuspecting investors with fraudulent promises of large returns in the cryptocurrency market, only to divert millions of dollars for his own personal use,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “While the technologies and methods are constantly changing, the Criminal Division’s commitment to aggressively pursuing fraud in all its forms remains unchanged.”
“As alleged, DeMarr made misrepresentations and false promises that coaxed investors into pouring millions of dollars into fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes, all to facilitate his extravagant lifestyle,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme of the Eastern District of New York. “We will continue to root out and prosecute those who would cheat investors to line their own pockets.”
“Mr. DeMarr created an elaborate cryptocurrency scheme, complete with high profile endorsements and incredibly large returns that proved to be a mirage costing investors millions,” said Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Mr. DeMarr is now in custody and no longer spending his victims’ money, nor hiding from justice by faking his own disappearance.”
“In today’s hi-tech financial world there are increasingly more opportunities for fraudsters to take advantage of people and their bank accounts,” said Special Agent in Charge Ryan Korner of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office. “John DeMarr’s Bitcoin operation is one such example of a cryptocurrency investment scheme that did not payoff for his investors. Claiming to be part of a cryptocurrency ‘ecosystem,’ DeMarr created nothing more than an elaborate fraud scheme where he stole his investors’ money to fund his own personal lifestyle, resulting in losses totaling over $11 million. Financial crimes never pay, as one way or another the person behind the computer will be caught and will be held accountable.”
As alleged in the complaint, between 2017 and 2018, DeMarr conspired with others to defraud numerous victims of $11.4 million by inducing them…