EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Officials with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas announced Tuesday that an El Paso man pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud.

Court documents reveal that 27-year-old Abner Tinoco allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme, using his business.

Officials say Tinoco solicited millions of dollars of investments from clients and then claimed he would invest their money into funds dealing with cryptocurrency and foreign exchange markets.

According to DOJ officials, out of almost $9 million worth of investments deposited into his business accounts, Tinoco spent “more than half on personal expenses to include luxury cars, private jets, real estate and jewelry.”

Tinoco furthered the deception by providing some of the misappropriated funds as profits to his clients.

United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas

Tinoco faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, plus restitution and a maximum fine of
$250,000 on each count.

The case, investigated by the FBI, was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shane Romero and Chris Skillern.

Officials add that a sentencing date has not yet been decided; a federal district court judge
will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory
factors.

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In a separate civil case stemming from the scheme, the Commodities Futures Trading
Commission (CFTC) secured a civil consent decree against Tinoco and his business, imposing a ban relating to trading activities.

As for restitution for any additional victims of Tinoco’s scheme, the Department of Justice continues work to achieve any repayment.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey
R. Downey of the FBI El Paso Field Office made the announcement.