Articles Tagged with Cryptocurrency

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.

State Regulator Orders Cessation of $4M Oil and Gas Offering

In an Emergency Cease and Desist Order, the Texas Securities Commissioner has ordered Parker R. Hallam and Jason A. Gilbert, two Dallas residents, to stop their efforts to raise $4.4M in an oil and gas offering. The two men are accused of fraud allegations.

Hallam and Gilbert have been offering investors interest in a well project that would be based in Kansas. They reportedly intend to take $1M of investor funds as a management fee payment to SourceRock Energy Phoenix Prospect LP, which is the company that they do business as. Meantime, the rest of the funds would go toward leasing and building the well field. The two men have not, however, told investors that drilling costs are estimated to be at just around $750K.

Hallam also is accused of failing to tell investors that in 2016, the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued him and others over their alleged involvement in an $80M oil and gas fraud. Also, according to the Texas securities regulator, Gilbert failed to disclose that the Internal Revenue Service previously filed $548K in tax liens against him. The government agency also filed liens against Hallam, who has yet to pay nearly $143K of what he owes.

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Beaumont, TX Investment Adviser is Suspended for 90 Days
In a Disciplinary Order, the Texas State Securities Board suspended former LPL Financial LLC (LPLA) investment adviser Jason N. Anderson for 90 days. The state contends that while registered with that firm, Anderson touted an active-trading program to clients that charged them unreasonable fees, which included commissions to Anderson, as well as trading costs.

For example, one client paid costs that were approximately 30% of “the value of the average equity securities” in the client’s account. The Texas regulator said that the trading program would have had to make “extraordinary returns” for investors to “offset” such fees or even, in some cases, allow them to merely “break-even.”

The order called the commissions and trading costs “inequitable practices” that violated the Texas Securities Act. The state accused Anderson of not having reasonable grounds for believing that the trading program would be appropriate for these clients.

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The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed civil cases against virtual currency operators CabbageTech, Entrepreneurs Headquarters Ltd., and My Big Coin Pay Inc. The regulator is alleging fraud, misappropriation, misrepresentation, and other unregistered securities allegations. It wants disgorgement, fines, restitution, injunctions, and other remedies.

In the case against CabbageTech, doing business as Coin Drop Markets, and its owner Patrick K. McDonnell, the Defendants are accused of participating in a virtual currency scam to solicit investor for funds and virtual money, supposedly in exchange for real-time trading advice and the sale and trading of virtual currency under McDonnell’s guidance.

Instead, claims the CFTC, investors received no such advice and they never saw their money again because McDonnell and CabbageTech misappropriated their funds. The regulator believes that the defendants sought to hide their scam by eliminating their online and social media presence and ending communications with customers.

The CFTC’s civil action against McDonnell and his company was announced the same day as its case against The Entrepreneurs Headquarters Limited, which is a company registered in the UK, and founder Dillon Michael Dean. The regulator believes that beginning in April 2017 through now, the defendants solicited at least $1.1M of Bitcoin from over 600 investors, with the promise that the Bitcoin would be turned into fiat currency and invested in a pooled investment vehicle to trade commodity interests.
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