SEC Halts Allegedly Fraudulent ICO That Employed a Bogus Regulatory Agency and False Claims of SEC Approval

At the request of the SEC, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California recently issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) by a company and its founder. The SEC complaint alleges that, to give apparent legitimacy to the ICO, the defendants created a bogus regulatory agency modeled on the SEC; falsely claimed that the offering was approved by the SEC and exempt from registration; and engaged in other misleading conduct. In announcing this action, the SEC has reiterated that it does not endorse investment products such as ICOs and emphasized that investors should regard any claims to the contrary with skepticism. This article details the SEC’s allegations in the complaint and the terms of the TRO. See “Unregistered Crypto Fund Hit With Multiple Securities Laws Violations by SEC” (Oct. 18, 2018); and SEC Cyber Unit Files Charges Against Allegedly Fraudulent ICO” (Jan. 11, 2018).

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