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Three people have been charged: Joshua David Nicholas, Flavio Mendes Goncalves, and Emerson Pires.

The EmpiresX Ponzi scheme is the subject of the three defendants’ criminal accusations.

Launched in 2020, EmpiresX was a standard MLM crypto trading bot Ponzi scheme.

according to an indictment a grand jury handed down on June 30;

EmpiresX was actively promoted to potential investors by Emerson Pires and Flavio Mendes Goncalves as a profitable investment opportunity.

Pires, Joshua, and Goncalves David Nicholas misrepresented and deceitfully promoted EmpiresX’s alleged private investment and trading bot platform as a straightforward, secure, and adaptable way to invest fiat money and cryptocurrencies.

Because Pires, Goncalves, and Nicholas marketed the EX BOT as an investment of money into a joint venture with other investors, with the realistic expectation of gains from EmpiresX’s efforts, they offered and sold the EX BOT as a series of transactions or schemes.

The EX BOT thus qualified as a “security” under the laws regulating the offer and sale of securities in the United States and necessitated registration with the SEC.

Contrary to claims to the contrary, neither Pires, Goncalves, nor Nicholas filed any paperwork with the SEC to register EmpiresX’s investment program including the EX Bot as a securities offering or sale, nor did they possess a legitimate exemption from this registration requirement.

Pires and Goncalves laundered investors’ funds generated in the US and elsewhere through EmpiresX’s network of cryptocurrency wallets, Foreign Cryptocurrency Exchange 1, and other places to conceal and disguise them as well as the fact that EmpiresX was not independently generating meaningful revenue through the EX BOT.

EmpiresX’s fraudsters stole almost $100 million from their victims in total.

Pires, Goncalves, and Nicholas also used investor money to pay for personal expenses including expensive cars, designer clothes, and legal costs.

The indictment accuses Pires, Nicholas, and Goncalves of

one count each of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit international money laundering (Pires and Goncalves).

The DOJ is requesting that illegally obtained wealth and convictions be forfeited.

Upon conviction;

Flavio Goncalves and Emerson Pires risk 45 years in jail and fines that may be twice as much as what they stole.

Joshua Nicholas could receive up to 25 years in jail and a fine equal to double the amount of what he stole.

A secret submission was made on July 1st, the day after the EmpiresX indictment was submitted.


Docket Entry 2 is restricted/sealed in the system until further notice.

This might be related to arrest warrants.

Both Brazilian nationals Pires and Goncalves fled to Brazil after realizing they were under investigation by US officials. Brazilian citizens are never returned.

Florida-based Joshua David Nicholas is a citizen of the United States.

The present situation of each of the three defendants for EmpiresX is uncertain pending changes to the court docket.

Additionally, the SEC and CFTC have filed separate lawsuits against Pires, Goncalves, and Nicholas on related allegations.

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