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Cryptocurrency

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and others. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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April 8, 2021

Circle Society, Corp. and its owner, David Gilbert Saffron, have been ordered to pay more than $32 million in restitution, disgorgement, and civil monetary penalty for cryptocurrency fraud and misappropriation.  First as an individual, and then through Circle Society, Saffron allegedly solicited millions in Bitcoin and U.S. dollars from at least 179 individuals by making false statements regarding his trading expertise and guaranteed rates of return.  However, rather than trading the fu­nds on foreign currencies and cryptocurrency pairs, Saffron directed­­ portions to his personal cryptocurrency wallet and used other portions to pay prior investors.  CFTC

CFTC Clobbers Cryptocurrency Con Man

Posted  04/1/21
By Leah Judge
cryptocurrency scam
Last week, the CFTC announced that a federal court entered a nearly $600 million default judgment against a British man who used bitcoin to defraud more than 1,000 people worldwide.  The judgment is yet another indication that the CFTC will vigorously police cryptocurrency fraud.

The Scam

The CFTC filed a complaint against Benjamin Reynolds and his bitcoin trading and investment company, Control-Finance, back in...

March 26, 2021

British citizen Benjamin Reynolds, who did business as Control-Finance Limited, has been ordered to pay a total of $571 million – $143 million in restitution and $429 million as a civil penalty – by default judgment in an enforcement action brought by the CFTC.  Reynolds solicited customers on the internet and by e-mail, falsely representing that Control-Finance would engage in virtual currency trades on their behalf, with a guaranteed profit.  Reynolds also created an affiliate marketing network, falsely claiming that he would pay referral bonuses to customers.  In fact, Reynolds made no trades on customers’ behalf, earned no trading profits for them, and paid no referral rewards or bonuses. Over the course of six months in 2017, Reynolds secured at least 22,191 bitcoin, worth $143 million at the time, from more than 1,000 customers worldwide, including at least 169 residing in the U.S.  CFTC

March 19, 2021

The CFTC has ordered digital asset exchange operator Coinbase Inc. to pay a civil monetary penalty of $6.5 million to settle charges of reporting false, misleading, or inaccurate information on the company’s GDAX electronic trading platform, which is published by various reporting firms and used by market participants to gauge the volume and liquidity of digital assets.  The CFTC also found Coinbase vicariously liable for a former employee who placed deceptive orders in Litecoin in order to artificially generate market interest.  CFTC

March 4, 2021

Sohrab Sharma, a co-founder of Centra Tech, which claimed to offer products including a debit card that would allow users to make retail purchases using cryptocurrency, has been sentenced to eight years in prison following his guilty plea to charges arising from Centra’s fraudulent representations to participants in its unregistered initial coin offering of “Centra Tokens” or “CTR tokens,” which raised more than $25 million from victims.  Sharma and his co-defendants falsely claimed that Centra Tech had an experienced executive team, agreements with card issuers, and licenses to operate in 38 states when, in fact, Centra Tech had none of these things.  USAO SDNY

February 23, 2021

Cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex, operated by iFinex, and Tether were ordered to end all trading activity for NY customers and agreed to pay $18.5 million in penalties following an investigation into their handling of customer deposits and withdrawals that resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of customer assets.  Tether was found to have falsely represented that each of its stablecoins was backed one-to-one by U.S. dollars in reserve when, in fact, they were not.  NY

Top Ten SEC and CFTC Recoveries of 2020

Posted  01/15/21
top ten list
Despite its many shortcomings, 2020 did bring great news for whistleblowers: record-breaking growth in the CFTC and SEC Whistleblower Programs, as well as massive enforcement actions by both agencies.  In this post, we will detail the Top Ten SEC and CFTC recoveries of 2020 in cases other than FCPA enforcement.  As detailed below, the SEC netted billions of dollars in penalties and restitution from companies accused...

January 11, 2021

Steve Chen was sentenced to 10 years in prison following his guilty plea to charges arising from his promotion of a pyramid/Ponzi scam that netted $147 million from tens of thousands of investors.  Chen told victims that they could purchase interests in U.S. Fine Investment Arts, Inc. and other companies owned by him, falsely claiming that those companies mined and sold amber and other gemstones, and enlisted those investors to recruit others by awarding them bonuses and “Gem Coins” that he claimed were a digital currency.  USAO CD Cal

October 21, 2020

Cryptocurrency issuer Kik Interactive Inc. will pay a $5 million penalty in a consent judgment resolving claims by the SEC that Kik’s unregistered offering of digital “Kin” tokens in 2017 violated U.S. securities laws.  The consent judgment finds that Kin tokens were investment contracts and the offering did not qualify for any exemption from registration requirements.  Kik sold the tokens through both public and private sales; the court found that the sales were a single integrated offering.   SEC

October 2, 2020

Jon Barry Thompson of Pennsylvania has been ordered to pay approximately $7.4 million in restitution for making false representations to two customers regarding purchases of Bitcoin.  According to the CFTC press release, Thompson induced the customers to send him the funds by assuring them he had the Bitcoin in hand.  However, after receiving the funds, he distributed the money to third parties, failed to provide the customers with any Bitcoin, and made false representations regarding the location of the Bitcoin and the status of the funds.  Thompson pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud in a parallel action relating to this matter, and will be sentenced in January 2021.  CFTC
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