The US Department of Justice brought charges against the organizers of a $25 million crypto scam.

The US Department of Justice has announced charges against two men suspected of running a $25 million digital assets Ponzi scheme..

According to court documents, David Gilbert Saffron of Australia and Vincent Anthony Mazzotta Jr. of California conspired to defraud investors..

Their scam offered a “guaranteed return” of 300% in three weeks, which amounted to an annualized return of 186,000,000%. The organizers promised to use an automated trading bot with artificial intelligence for cryptocurrency transactions.

Saffron and Mazzotta promoted fraudulent programs under various names such as Circle Society, Bitcoin Wealth Management, Omicron Trust, Mind Capital and Cloud9Capital.

The alleged criminals also offered victims a “referral reward” of 20% of the deposits of acquaintances and friends.

However, instead of investing in digital assets, the suspects spent investors' money on personal needs.

“[The defendants] misappropriated victims’ funds to pay for personal expenses, including private charter flights, luxury hotel stays, private mansion rentals, personal chefs, and private security,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

According to investigators, in the period from September 6, 2018 to the present, the victims of the pyramid have invested a total of at least $11 million in funds, sending them to Shafran’s Bitcoin wallet.

The suspects hid assets through mixers, destroyed evidence and falsified records, obstructing the official investigation.. They also used different names and aliases to communicate online.. For example, Saffron was introduced as the «Blue Wizard» or «Bitcoin Yoda».

Both face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and a similar sentence for money laundering..

Earlier, the Southern District of New York court sentenced employees of the international cryptocurrency pyramid AirBit Club Scott Hughes, Cecilia Millan and Karina Chaires to terms of one to five years in prison.

Let us recall that in November, the US Attorney's Office brought charges against the founders and leaders of the DeFi project SafeMoon for fraud involving “millions of dollars.”