SEC signs multi-million dollar deals with US BitConnect promoters
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is approaching a settlement with four US residents accused of sponsoring a multi-billion dollar Ponzi program, BitConnect.
According to Law360, the terms of the settlement are currently awaiting final approval by Judge John Koeltl. The judge found that while the terms of the agreements are now legally valid, minor corrections need to be made to ensure that they are “carefully correct”.
The settlements include a payment of more than $ 3 million from Joshua Heppensen of Massachusetts and $ 576,000 from his fiancée Laura Mascola, $ 526,000 from Ryan Maasen of Oklahoma, and an unspecified amount from Michael Noble of California.
The SEC filed a lawsuit against six of the broadcasters in May this year, alleging they offered and sold unregistered securities in the United States, including promoting BitConnect’s rental platform in testimonial videos. The other two defendants – Trevon Brown from South Carolina and Craig Grant from Florida – have yet to agree to the settlement terms with the SEC.
Law360’s report notes that during 2017, the company lured investors with promises of “risk-free” returns, enticing them to pledge BTC as collateral for borrowing and trading BitConnect Coin.
When the company abruptly shut down its lending platform in January 2018 after receiving cease and desist orders from state regulators in North Carolina and Texas, investors were unable to buy back their BTC holdings and were left behind when BitConnect Coin quickly crashed more than 90%.
Connected: The most famous financial pyramids in the crypto world
BitConnect is one of the largest Ponzi programs to step into the crypto space and has defrauded around $ 2.5 billion from thousands of investors over the course of a year.
The scam has gone global, with 52-year-old Australian promoter John Louis Anthony Bigatton facing six counts, with sentences ranging from two years to ten years for his role on the program.