Defendant Sentenced in $25 Million Diamond Ponzi Scheme
Miami, Florida – A South Florida federal district judge sentenced a Washington D.C. man who operated a fraudulent diamond investment scheme to serve 84 months in federal prison and pay over $23 million in victim restitution.
From about May 2014 through May 2019, defendant Jose Angel Aman and his partners solicited people throughout the United States and Canada to invest in diamond contracts. Aman and his partners promised investors that they would use the money to purchase rough colored diamonds for Aman to 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. Aman rarely used investors’ money to purchase, cut, and resell rough diamonds. Nor did Aman have a $25 million diamond inventory. To conceal the fraud, Aman made purported interest payments to existing investors with money from new investment victims. 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 provided sham “Reinvestment Contracts” to the investors, a tactic they used to buy time until Aman could locate new investors and additional money.
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 used only a fraction of the money received from Argyle investors to develop a cryptocurrency token. He used most of it to pay purported interest payments to the earlier investors and to benefit himself and his partners.
During the course of the Ponzi scheme, Aman and his partners collected over $25 million from hundreds of investors. Among other things, Aman used the money to support his lavish lifestyle.
Aman was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II, who sits in Fort Lauderdale. This matter was investigated by FBI West Palm Beach, with assistance from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. AUSAs Ellen Cohen and Adrienne Rabinowitz prosecuted this case.
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.
You may find related court documents and information 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 number 20-cr-80062.