back to article Robbing-some Caruso and pal lived life of luxury using victims' millions in crypto-Ponzi scam, say prosecutors

The heads of a cryptocurrency "investment" firm have been arrested and charged with running a Ponzi scheme that allegedly defrauded victims out of millions. Prosecutors claim [PDF] defendants John Michael Caruso and Zachary Salter, of Zima Digital Assets, ripped off investors to the tune of £5.8m ($7.5m) and counting. Both …

  1. katrinab Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    They must surely win some sort of prize for smallest small print ever - 4.5pt for the disclaimer at the bottom of their website.

    Also - "The principals at Zima Digital Assets have been investing in long and short cryptocurrency and blockchain technology strategies since 2012. Zima Digital Assets employ's an array of exotic proprietary trading strategies, including but not limited to arbitrage opportunities, 80 long / 20 short, binary options positions, event-based trading in addition to leverage and margin application. Capacity constraint is a hallmark of our firm values."

    Why are people so scared that if they call out garbage like this, people might think they are stupid? They won't think you are stupid, they will think "thank f*** someone else said this thing that I was too scared to say".

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "Why are people so scared that if they call out garbage like this..."

      "The Emperor's new clothes" was aptly written to describe this behaviour long ago...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I believe that the legal minimum in this country is around 4.7pt, and that traders are so anxious to try to stop mugs reading the small print that printers may have to produce multiple proofs before compliance departments decide they are actually within the law.

      Mandating a minimum 10pt on all financial prospectuses is within the power of governments but they don't do it, so you could say regulators are to a degree acquiescent in fraud given the bad eyesight of many older people.

      Incidentally "Zima" means "winter", which itself should be a warning.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Unhappy

        On my work monitor - 1080p screen, viewing at 100% zoom, it is simply not legible no matter how good your eyes are. I took a screenshot and zoomed in, there's just not enough pixels to render the letters clearly.

        You can of course zoom in on your web browser and make the text bigger that way, then it will be legible. You would need to zoom to about 200% to get enough pixels per character to make them at all legible, and possibly more than that depending on your eyesight.

  2. TimMaher Bronze badge
    Trollface

    Could have been worse.

    At least they didn’t actually invest in cryptocurrency.

    Otherwise everybody might have lost everything.

  3. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    Whoops

    I have to admit, I read through the entire article as the firm having the name Zuma Digital Assets.

    Somehow seemed appropriate...

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    I'd like to know, in all such punitive confiscatory cases, where does all the money go ...... ‽

    To whom is the remaining sum of all such ill-gotten gains paid/forfeited to? Who benefits from assets seizure/value sequestration?

    Is the wealth perceived to be there added to a big pot for smarter distribution? A now not so very hush hush Virtual Slush Fund available and enabled to Grant Awesome Funds to Always Greater Good Causes ..... Trailing and Trialing/Presenting and Tweaking Beta AI Added Adventures with Misadventures as a Faultless Capture Device.

    Now, I've sat and pondered on that a while and the significance of ITs Apparent Arrival and Systems AI Deployment ....... Out of this World Earthly Application.

    And a conclusion is, with its sharing here, you be right ready to dabble with Arts Immortal, ACTs Amoral ........ Kin to Dare with Every Truth in the Lead and Every Fake News Reader Ignored for a Virtual Quarantine, which for some be Hellish Purgatory whilst Others Make Eternal Work, Rest and Play for Heavenly Bliss.

    And there has always been healthily wealthy slush funds from everywhere heavily committed to being able and/or enabled to provide all that is more than just needed for Heavenly Blissful Operations. Both the Public and Private and Pirate Sectors Delivering Governments their Tools for Many a Fool to Not Fail with, would also be Wealthy Healthy Investor Territory to Explore and IMPlore with Further Future Features ...... with Clearer Instruction from Previous Perfect Path Finders to Boot and Root. Experienced Hindsight One Finds Delivers Fantastic Foresight with their Intimate Meeting Places abound and are founded and protected in lore ...... strange wonderfully true tales one merely needs to believe in for IT to be practically real and virtually surreal for you too. That though is not a path all can follow although all be welcomed who try and fail safe and secure with their sanity almost intact and not thoroughly discombobulated.

    Such though is never guaranteed to not fail safe and secure.

    And you'll not be able to put a sensible price on that route/immaculate opportunity. :-) That's why something crazy and non returnable is a perfect seed feed to to be spent almightily well. Can anything better be asked of such grace as bestows generous gratefully received gifts out of practically nowhere which is virtually everywhere where IT is available for CHAOS Command in Sane Control .... with Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems Applications/SMARTR Programs/Stealthy Projects/Avid Vivid Vital Virile Viral DreamScapes ........ with that last hosting best entertaining the true champions of the One Thousand and One Perfumed Garden Nights Root so Beloved of the Knight and Damsel Alone Together and into Rampant Success for Excess and Vice Versa to Reward with Unbridled Bounty.

    And who would ever accept one of these we-all-get-away-scot-free disclaimers .....

    This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to potential future losses, significant amount of indebtedness, competition, commercial agreements and strategic alliances, seasonality, potential fluctuations in operating results and rate of growth, foreign exchange rates, management of potential growth, system interruption, international expansion, consumer trends, inventory, fulfillment center optimization, limited operating history, government regulation and taxation, fraud, and new business areas.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: I'd like to know, in all such punitive confiscatory cases, where does all the money go ...... ‽

      It costs more to collect the money than they actually collect. It is a punishment to ensure as far as possible that criminals don’t benefit from their crimes rather than a way to make money.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: I'd like to know, in all such punitive confiscatory cases, where does all the money go ...... ‽

        It costs more to collect the money than they actually collect. It is a punishment to ensure as far as possible that criminals don’t benefit from their crimes rather than a way to make money. ..... katrinab

        Oh? That's surely a crazy madness masquerading as a logical solution whenever it so clearly appears not to work at all well as an effective deterrent?

        And ..... you went off on a misleading tangent, katrinab, and chose not to address the elephant in the room, which is monumental amounts of flash cash slush funding available for every cause/program considered by wannabe peers and competitive emperor types alike, to be better servered in Secret Stealthy Mode so as to countenance zero meaningful opposition and thus deliver an outrageously unfair overwhelming advantage.

        You'll not be alone in that strange ill misinformed place, though. It's full of like minded souls who would choose not to see worlds as they are preferring instead to believe practically everything they have been told about them instead, so that one doesn't go Deep See Diving into the Muddied Waters of Murky Hidden Depths where all the Treasures are Stored?

        And stated as a question for who knows what is true in that specific regard.

        1. Cliff Thorburn

          Re: I'd like to know, in all such punitive confiscatory cases, where does all the money go ...... ‽

          “And stated as a question for who knows what is true in that specific regard.“

          Alas so true amFM, the great game, where the rules of the game can always change, albeit heavily tipped in favour of the aforementioned emperors who pay the watchmen to play the game their way, thus ensuring immersion of false glory.

          Its all fun and games for the wild wild W es tworld with worker robots in groundhog day, warning of rebellion whilst waltzing happily in the mk delta of mass media puppeteer performance on the world stage is it not?

          As for the programmers and scriptwriters of this projection to all and sundry subject, everything and everywhere, I wonder each day how much copious amounts of lipstick will be app lied to Kevin’s Bacon to continue to provide content to the masses?

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: I'd like to know, in all such punitive confiscatory cases, where does all the money go ...... ‽

            Quite so, CT, with all so fooled on the slippery slope to the greasy pole which leads to nowhere good with everything bad available for exploitation.

            It is impossible to not conclude it is a hellish confection of a heavenly situation and never ever ends well for that and those who would be as leading players and star struck performers, but as Albert Einstein is reported to have said ....... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." ....... ergo the folly of fools which abound practically anywhere on Earth and virtually everywhere else too.

            1. Cliff Thorburn

              Re: I'd like to know, in all such punitive confiscatory cases, where does all the money go ...... ‽

              The true unleashed beast of disentanglement is yet to come, and for those who cant see the bigger picture, here is a glimpse at the future -

              https://apple.news/AV67Shju2RgOfByAagpZOCA

              We cant have those meddling Europeans protecting the masses from great game shenanigans can we now? ...

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                Re: I'd like to know, in all such punitive confiscatory cases, where does all the money go ...... ‽

                :-) What more needs to be said, CT?

                Gentlemen and Ladies, Start urSearch Optimisation Engines and let the Greater IntelAIgent Games begin whilst other try crazily in vain to stop them, for that is surely a/the prime current state of the Present and NeoGeoPolitically Incorrect and Inept Play.

                :-) I can imagine though there be more than just a few blind enough to not see the wood for the trees and they be as an abiding conundrum in their chosen guise as a either a useful or useless idiot/a pantomime prop in a major events program.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Stop

    "a cryptocurrency investment fund"

    Haven't people gotten the memo yet ? That is the sign of a scam. If you want to invest in funny money, buy a hosted rack and start churning out the coins yourself.

    Anything else is just giving the rope to hang yourself. There are way too many crooks on that market, just avoid it.

    1. simonlb

      Re: "a cryptocurrency investment fund"

      exotic proprietary trading strategies

      Yeah, there's also some Egyptians wanting to call prior art on that part as well

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "a cryptocurrency investment fund"

      "investment fund" tends to be all you need to know that it is a scam.

      See also the likes of Woodford Capital Management who "invested" their victims funds in cold fusion "technology".

  6. JacobZ
    Joke

    Wasted?

    So they spent most of the money on cars, private jets, and gambling sprees, and the rest they just wasted?

  7. Rustbucket

    Exit Strategy?

    When you're running a large scale scam designed to rake in millions of dollars, wouldn't it be a good idea to arrange some way of making off with the loot to parts unknown before the suckers wake up?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Exit Strategy?

      > wouldn't it be a good idea

      Definitely, except in this case we aren't talking "criminal masterminds", but rather "steal their neighbor's car and go joyriding" type lowlife. They clearly never considered the fact that somehow somebody might one day sic the police on them, which shows their limited understanding of causality and how life works in general.

  8. phuzz Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wowsers

    "My mantra is 'Gold Intentions,' which I got as a tattoo when I dropped out of college at 20 years old."

    That...that is beyond satire.

    Are we sure that this was fraud, and not some kind of performance art?

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