The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is bringing charges against four individuals the regulator claims propped up a $295 million crypto Ponzi scheme.
The SEC alleges Trade Coin Club (TCC), an organization billing itself as a crypto trading membership group, raised more than 82,000 Bitcoin (BTC) from more than 100,000 investors around the world between 2016 and 2018.
That haul, worth $295 million at the time, would be worth more than $1.75 billion today.
The SEC charged four individuals for their involvement in the alleged fraud, including TCC founder Douver Torres Braga and three US promoters: Joff Paradise, Keleionalani Akana Taylor, and Jonathan Tetreault.
Braga and Paradise allegedly baited investors with false promises that a crypto asset trading bot made “millions of microtransactions” every second and would net them minimum returns of 0.35% every day.
In reality, investor funds enriched Braga and a network of TCC promoters, according to an SEC press release.
Says David Hirsch, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit,
“We allege that Braga used Trade Coin Club to steal hundreds of millions from investors around the world and enrich himself by exploiting their interest in investing in digital assets. To ensure our markets are fair and safe, we will continue to use blockchain tracing and analytical tools to aid us in the pursuit of individuals who perpetrate securities fraud.”
The SEC’s complaint seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement and civil penalties. Tetreault, who is one of TCC’s promoters, has already agreed to settle the SEC’s charges, without admitting or denying the allegations, according to the press release.
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