ICO issuer is charged by the SEC with fraud related to the sale of unregistered securities
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused a cryptocurrency issuer of making “false and seriously misleading statements” regarding an unsecured security offering. Registrations were made between August 2017 and January 2018, which provides further evidence that regulators are still targeting the initial coin offering from the last major market euphoria.
Loci Inc., the platform behind LOCIcoin and CEO John Wise, was formally indicted on Tuesday. The SEC claims that Loci and Wise misled investors about the company’s revenue, headcount, and user base during a $ 7.6 million mass sale. The regulator also claims that Wise misused $ 38,163 of investor proceeds for personal expenses.
“Loci and its CEO have misled investors about important aspects of Loci’s business,” added Kristina Littman, director of networking for the SEC Enforcement Division. :
“Investors in digital stocks enjoy truthful information and full disclosure so they can make informed investment decisions.”
The order also requires Loci and Wise to pay a civil penalty of $ 7.6 million for their violation.
Introducing fines against crypto companies is nothing new to US authorities. Regulators from the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network have fined more than $ 2.5 billion in crypto-related companies since 2014, putting pressure on a strong and cloudy regulatory atmosphere surrounding digital assets.
Elliptic Enterprises, a UK-based blockchain analytics firm, reported Tuesday that the $ 2.5 billion fine covers a wide range of violations, including fraud, unregistered securities sales and non-compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.
The SEC accounted for a percentage of the fines of $ 1.69 billion. The CFTC fined $ 624 million and FinCEN fined crypto companies $ 183 million. The Office of Foreign Assets Control offers the smallest fine among regulators at $ 606,000.
Cryptocurrencies are referred to by many as the wild west of the financial world. Tens of thousands of crypto-focused projects were launched after Bitcoin’s founding block in early 2009. Many of these companies started in 2017 during the height of the money supply boom.
Connected: With US regulators sanctioning $ 2.5 billion since 2014, crypto is not the “wild west” of the financial world
ICOs enable crypto startups to raise millions of dollars without having to comply with the strict regulations of traditional security services. The combined ICO funding hit tens of billions in 2017 and 2018, drawing unwanted attention from securities regulators. The SEC has successfully indicted the founders of several crypto companies, which put an end to the mania – at least in the US.