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Articles Posted in Cryptocurrencies


Former MRI International Head is Found Guilty in $1.5B Ponzi Scam

Edwin Fujinaga, the ex-CEO of medical billings collections company MRI International, has been convicted of multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced earlier this year.

According to the release issued by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada, Fujinaga and two other MRI executives were indicted in 2013 and were accused of fraudulently soliciting investments from over 10,000 residents in Japan, who wired their money to the US into bank accounts that he controlled. Fujinaga told investors that their funds would go toward buying medical claims only.

The SEC has filed fraud charges against hedge fund adviser Gregory Lemelson and his Massachusetts based investment advisory firm Lemelson Capital Management LLC. The regulator is accusing them of illegally profiting over $1.3M from an alleged short-and-distort scheme that involved Ligand Pharmaceuticals.

According to the hedge fund fraud allegations, Lemelson and his investment advisory firm put out false information about the San Diego-based pharmaceutical company after the hedge fund adviser took a short position in Ligand for The Amvona Fund. Lemelson is a part owner and advisor of this other hedge fund.

The SEC’s complaint said that Lemelson’s false statements were meant to rattle investor confidence in Ligand, drive its stock price down, and increase his short-position’s value. He allegedly used interviews, written reports, and social media to disperse the false claims.

In New York, the founders of Centra Tech are now facing securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy charges related to an alleged cryptocurrency fraud. Robert Farkas, Sohrab Sharma, and Raymond Trapani are accused of fraudulently raising $32M from investors during an initial coin offering (ICO).

Prosecutors claim that the men misled investors into thinking that the Centra tokens they had invested in had partnership deals with Visa, Bancorp, and Mastercard. These agreements supposedly involved the issuance of debit cards that would allow them to spend the cryptocurrency at any business that accepted Mastercard or Visa. Farkas, Sharma, and Trapani are accused of lying about a fake CEO and licenses for money transmitters. They also are accused of making misrepresentations and omissions.

Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested the company co-founders and confiscated 91,000 Ether units in digital money valued at $60M. 

According to the Texas State Securities Board’s Enforcement Division, a four-week probe of investment offerings connected to virtual currencies has uncovered “widespread fraud.” The cryptocurrency fraud investigation took a look at investment offerings targeting investors in the state and which appeared to employ fraudulent and illegal solicitation tactics.

Of the 32 investigations conducted beginning on December 18th of last year:

  • None of the promoters examined were registered in Texas to sell securities in the state.


Longfin’s Illegal Trading Was an Easy Catch for the SEC 

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has gotten a court order to freeze $27M in trading proceeds because of allegations that restricted shares of Longfin Corp. (NASDAQ:LFIN) stock may have been illegally sold and distributed.  The regulator’s complaint, unsealed in federal court early this month, contends that soon after the company started trading on the NASDAQ and made it known to the public that it was acquiring a purported cryptocurrency business, its stock price soared from $5 to $142 during the first three trading days, with market capitalization reaching over $3B, said the SEC. Barron’s, however, reports market cap reaching $6B.  The SEC is charging Longfin CEO Venkata Meenavalli and Director Amro Izzelden “Andy” Altahawi, as well as Suresh Tammineedi and  Dorababu Penumarthi, with violating the Securities Act of 1933.

According to the regulator, Altahawi, Penumarthi, and Tammineedi illegally traded and sold huge blocks of the restricted shares to members of the public while Longfin’s stock price was very high. As a result, the three of them collectively made over $27M. A lot of the trading hype seems to have come from the cryptocurrency and/or blockchain connection with the announced acquisition.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has placed a temporary halt on trading in The Crypto Company (CRCQ) stock until January 3, 2018. The company’s stock has just seen a 2,700 percent rise in price. It recently agreed to purchase a German cryptocurrency data platform called Coin Tracking E. K.

Citing concerns regarding “accuracy and adequacy,” the SEC expressed concerns about the quality of information that was given to investors. The regulator also is looking into whether “potentially manipulative transactions” involving the stock took place last month.

The Crypto Co. provides digital assets, consulting services, and technologies to the “blockchain and cryptocurrency markets.” It doesn’t sell cryptocurrencies or other digital-type monies. The Crypto Co.’s stock price, at $3.50 a share in late September, rose to $575 earlier this week. As a result, The Crypto Co.’s stock value is now over $11B—that’s more than the market worth of some of the most renowned companies in the US, including Macy’s.

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