All three are facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and Pires and Goncalves have also been charged with conspiracy to commit international money laundering. If convicted on all counts, Pires and Goncalves face up to 45 years in prison and Nicholas faces up to 25 years in prison.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced they had filed charges against Emerson Pires, Flavio Goncalves and Joshua David Nicholas, the two founders and the "head trader" of the EmpiresX cryptocurrency investment platform. The DoJ alleges that the project was a Ponzi scheme, and that they were offering an unregistered security. They also alleged that the duo were misrepresenting a supposed proprietary trading bot, and fraudulently guaranteeing investment returns. The EmpiresX scheme reportedly pulled in $100 million from investors, and appears to have run from 2020 until early 2022.