Defendant Charged in $25 Million Diamond Ponzi Scheme
MIAMI -- South Florida federal prosecutors have charged 51-year-old Jose Angel Aman, of Washington D.C., with wire fraud, for allegedly operating a fraudulent diamond investment scheme.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
According to the allegations of a criminal information, from May 2014 through May 2019, Aman and his partners solicited people throughout the United States and Canada to invest in diamond contracts. It is alleged that Aman and his partners promised investors that they would use their money to purchase rough colored diamonds, which Aman would cut, polish and resell at a profit. They reassured investors that their money was safe because it was secured by Aman’s inventory of diamonds (purportedly valued at $25 million). Aman and his partners presented the investment as a high return, no risk deal.
These promises and statements were false. According to the information, Aman rarely used investors’ money to purchase rough diamonds. He never cut, polished and resold rough diamonds. Nor did Aman have a $25 million diamond inventory. To conceal the fraud from investors, Aman allegedly made purported interest payments to investors by using new investors’ money to pay earlier ones. According to the charging document, at the end of the investment period, Aman and the partners would convince the investors to roll over their money by falsely claiming that the investors had the full value of their investments to put into new deals. They allegedly provided sham “Reinvestment Contracts” to the investors, a tactic they used to buy time until Aman could locate new investors and additional money.
It is alleged that when this scheme was about to collapse, Aman set up a new business, Argyle Coin, LLC, which was purportedly in the business of developing a cryptocurrency token backed by diamonds. Aman solicited new investors for Argyle, promising high rates of return with no risk. Aman allegedly used only a fraction of the money received from Argyle investors to develop a cryptocurrency token, instead using most of it to pay purported interest payments to the earlier investors and to benefit himself and his partners, according to the charging document.
During the course of the Ponzi scheme, Aman and his partners collected over $25 million from hundreds of investors. Aman allegedly used the money to make purported interest payments to investors, to pay business expenses, to pay commissions to the partners, and to support his own lavish lifestyle.
Aman made his initial appearance this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who sits in West Palm Beach. This matter was investigated by FBI West Palm Beach, with assistance from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. AUSA Adrienne Rabinowitz is prosecuting this case.
A criminal information is a charging document that makes allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty.
Related court documents and information appear on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case no. 20-cr-80062.