HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Dozens of people who invested money in an alleged cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme are asking for justice and trying to get their money back.
A federal agency is cracking down on the company that allegedly targeted hundreds of Latino families, scamming them out of millions of dollars.
The FTX crypto exchange recently went bankrupt, but there are victims in Houston from a different cryptocurrency investment scheme.
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Back in September, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency action to stop an ongoing fraudulent and unregistered crypto-asset offering targeting Latino investors.
Some of those investors spoke out on Wednesday claiming they paid anywhere from a couple of thousand to tens of thousands of dollars into a company called CryptoFX, LLC.
They told ABC13 that they were promised big returns for buying cryptocurrency through the company.
Many impacted families said they've come to terms with knowing that they probably won't be getting their money back, but at this point, they only want justice.
"I invested all of my life savings, and my mom did, and now I have to figure out how to pay for things that I wasn't expecting," Iliana Calles, one of the victims, said.
The SEC's complaint alleges that back in 2020, Mauricio Chavez, listed as one of the founders of the company, began holding paid classes to educate and empower the Latino community to build wealth through crypto asset trading.
Advocates with the immigrant-led civil rights organization 'FIEL' said that was a lie and that the families were specifically targeted.
"These families were taken advantage of and were stolen of their hard-earned money," Cesar Espinosa, executive director for FIEL, said.
The SEC said that rather than use investor funds for crypto trading, more than 90% of investor funds were used to pay fake returns to investors, support the lifestyle of the owners, and used to buy and develop real estate.
The investors outside the Houston Federal Courthouse want their money back and to spread the word about unscrupulous investment firms in the Latino community.
"We are here to speak up for the community and to say that it is important for folks to find out who they are working with. It is important for folks to know that these things are happening, and most importantly, it is important that real consequences happen," Espinosa said.
Federal investigators believe millions of dollars have been lost in this investment and that there are victims in Houston and all over the country.
ABC13 reached out to many of the accused scammers listed. Call after call was sent to voicemail, or no one answered.
Eyewitness News even went to one of their listed office locations, and when we got there, the door was locked.
For victims like Calles, she now hopes to create awareness.
"It happened to us, but other people might be in a worse situation than us and be a victim," Calles said.