Former friend says AZ crypto fraud suspect has history of scams

Jeremie Sowerby of Fountain Hills was arrested last month for allegedly scamming hundreds of people in cryptocurrency investment schemes.

PHOENIX — When Sean Kuzmic learned about the arrest of his one-time friend, Kuzmic says he was not surprised.

“He’s ripped off a lot of people,” Kuzmic said.

45-year-old Jeremie Sowerby of Fountain Hills was arrested last month for allegedly scamming hundreds of people in cryptocurrency investment schemes. One alleged scam offered investors the chance to purchase or lease cryptocurrency mining machines, receive new coins as rewards and exchange those coins for profit. In reality, according to prosecutors, Sowerby “overpromised and never delivered.”

According to investigations by the FBI and Arizona Corporation Commission, the 45-year-old Sowerby’s ruse involved showcasing to potential investors a Tempe warehouse filled with computer hard drives where crypto mining took place 24/7. But investigators with the ACC allege Sowerby actually 3-D printed plastic boxes made to look like computer hard drives.

Sowerby is also accused of using multi-level marketing tactics to recruit others. He pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and is being held without bond. He declined to comment, according to his attorney.

“When I saw him busted, that was such a relief. I’m like, it’s about time,” said Kuzmic.

According to Kuzmic, Sowerby gained his trust more than a decade ago by paying back small loans from him. Sowerby made his friends believe he wanted them to be successful, Kuzmic said. Sowerby worked for a legitimate MLM company and exaggerated his role in the operation, according to Kuzmic.

“He has experience scamming people and overpromising and underdelivering in speeches and get-togethers.”

The relationship between the men fell apart after property investment.

A photo provided by Kuzmic memorializes a contract Sowerby allegedly entered into with Kuzmic. It shows Sowerby as the borrower and Kuzmic as the lender. Kuzmic says the agreement turned out to be a lie and Sowerby left the country with Kuzmic’s money.

Kuzmic said Sowerby owes him more than $50,000.

“Man, he put me in tears, the hurt I had thinking he was my friend,” Kuzmic said. “In hindsight, I know other people got ripped off too. They’re probably asking the same thing: How did we let this guy steal from us, you know?”

By 2016, Sowerby was allegedly doing business again in Arizona. That’s when he began setting up companies with a co-conspirator, Luis Ortega of Litchfield Park, according to court records.

Sowerby networked with others through Christian communities, Kuzmic said.

After Sowerby’s arrest, a letter was submitted to the judge vouching for Sowerby’s character. It was signed by a Valley pastor, William Markley of Church for the Nations. The letter stated Sowerby had proven to be “upstanding, honest, and righteous”. 12 News attempted to contact Markley but was unsuccessful.

Court records allege Sowerby falsely told investors that celebrities like Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg endorsed his companies. Sowerby was so convincing, investors allegedly poured more than $57 million into one account controlled by Sowerby, according to the ACC suit.

The Arizona Corporation Commission has been investigating Sowerby for several years and filed a civil action against Sowerby in 2022. 

Up to Speed 

Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch 12News+ for free

You can now watch 12News content anytime, anywhere thanks to the 12News+ app!

The free 12News+ app from 12News lets users stream live events — including daily newscasts like “Today in AZ” and “12 News” and our daily lifestyle program, “Arizona Midday”—on Roku and Amazon Fire TV.

12News+  showcases live video throughout the day for breaking news, local news, weather and even an occasional moment of Zen showcasing breathtaking sights from across Arizona.

Users can also watch on-demand videos of top stories, local politics, I-Team investigations, Arizona-specific features and vintage videos from the 12News archives.

Roku: Add the channel from the Roku store or by searching for “12 News KPNX.”

Amazon Fire TV: Search for “12 News KPNX” to find the free 12News+ app to add to your account, or have the 12News+ app delivered directly to your Amazon Fire TV through Amazon.com or the Amazon app.

More ways to get 12News 

On your phone: Download the 12News app for the latest local breaking news straight to your phone.

On your streaming device: Download 12News+ to your streaming device

The free 12News+ app from 12News lets users stream live events — including daily newscasts like “Today in AZ” and “12 News” and our daily lifestyle program, “Arizona Midday”—on Roku and Amazon Fire TV.

12News+ showcases live video throughout the day for breaking news, local news, weather and even an occasional moment of Zen showcasing breathtaking sights from across Arizona.

On social media: Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*