2 Phoenix-area men indicted for allegedly ripping off hundreds in crypto scheme

The suspects set up a cryptocurrency scheme so they could pocket their investors' money.
The suspects set up a cryptocurrency scheme so they could pocket their investors' money.(Pxfuel)
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 8:06 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Two men from Maricopa County have been charged with dozens of counts related to a scheme where they ripped off hundreds of people with fake cryptocurrency investment plans, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Thursday.

A federal grand jury returned a 55-count indictment on Sept. 19 against 42-year-old Luis Ortega of Litchfield Park and 45-year-old Jeremie Sowerby from Fountain Hills for wire fraud and transactional money laundering. Prosecutors say the pair told their victims they could invest their cash into three different companies involving either Bitcoin or their own cryptocurrency called “Millennium.”

The first was called Now Mining and investors could lease Bitcoin mining machines that were located overseas. The second was a direct investment in Bitcoin mining machines in Arizona under the name VIP Mining. The third was a real estate and technology company where investors could buy custom-built container houses using the pair’s “Millennium” cryptocurrency.

Ortega and Sowerby allegedly promised people it was a “risk-free” opportunity and the investments would return “lavish giveaways and profits,” federal prosecutors said. However, in reality, the duo took the victims’ money and put it in their own bank accounts and bought houses, a new vehicle and made “extensive” cash withdrawals, The U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Prosecutors say some victims have been identified but there are others who haven’t come forward. Anyone who believes Ortega and Sowerby defrauded them should message the Victim Witness Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona at usaaz.victimassist@usdoj.gov or fill out the questionnaire at this link.

See a spelling or grammatical error in our story? Please click here to report it.

Do you have a photo or video of a breaking news story? Send it to us here with a brief description.