Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr. left a federal courtroom on Thursday afternoon, after pleading not guilty to charges under an alleged $100 million fraud scheme. The charges came as a result of FBI and IRS criminal investigations, along with a parallel civil investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
During a news conference, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Crosby Brackett stated that corporate executives who engage in deceptive practices erode trust in their sector and within their own companies, ultimately leading to their downfall. He also mentioned that the evidence against Olguin and Soberal is overwhelming, and that their actions resulted in the collapse of what was an unsustainable Ponzi scheme.
Both Olguin and Soberal were granted pretrial release and will have a preliminary hearing on January 25, 2024. A status hearing has been scheduled for December 8. As part of their release conditions, they must surrender their passports and are only allowed to travel to approved locations. They are also prohibited from contacting former Bitwise board members and administrators, as well as any potential witnesses, which may include Bitwise investors.
In order to secure their release, both Olguin and Soberal put up a property bond. Olguin used her mother’s home as equity, while Soberal used the home he currently resides in.
The charges against Bitwise founders have caused concern among investors, as they were once seen as rising stars in the tech industry. However, this is not the first time that scammers have targeted unsuspecting homeowners and businesses for financial gain. In fact, just last year, a Mosheim business was scammed by an individual claiming to be from the IRS.
The Bitwise case has also caught the attention of lawmakers, with AAP House members calling for a probe into the Dwarka Expressway scam and staging a walkout in protest. This highlights the need for stricter regulations and oversight in the financial industry to prevent such fraudulent activities.
As the case against Bitwise founders continues, it serves as a reminder to always be cautious and do thorough research before investing in any company or scheme. It is also important to report any suspicious activities to the proper authorities. Investment scams can have devastating consequences, not only for the victims but also for the economy and overall market sense. Stay informed and stay vigilant.