The United States Securities and Exchange Commission today charged four people with allegedly defrauding investors out of nearly $300 million in a “fraudulent crypto Ponzi scheme.”
In an announcement Friday, the SEC said Between 2016 and 2018, Trade Coin Club raised 82,000 Bitcoin, worth $295 million at the time, from over 100,000 investors worldwide.
Trade Coin Club promised investors “a minimum return of 0.35% per day” from a “crypto asset trading bot” but that was not true and operated more like a Ponzi scheme, alleged the SEC.
The government body hit out at Douver Torres Braga, Joff Paradise, Keleionalani Akana Taylor and Jonathan Tetreault for their alleged involvement in the ‘multilevel marketing scheme’.
“We allege that Braga used Trade Coin Club to rob hundreds of millions of investors around the world and enrich themselves by exploiting their interest in investing in digital assets,” David Hirsch, head of the Crypto Assets division, said on Friday. and Cyber Unit of the Enforcement Division.
“To ensure our markets are fair and safe, we will continue to use blockchain tracing and analytics tools to help us prosecute individuals who commit securities fraud,” he said.
Braga personally received at least $55 million in Bitcoin, while Paradise pocketed $1.4 million, Taylor $2.6 million and Tetreault got around $625,000, according to the SEC, all in the form of Bitcoin.
The charges include violating anti-fraud and securities registration provisions, as well as violating broker registration provisions of federal securities laws and asking the four to return the money raised.
Tetreault agreed to settle the SEC charges without admitting or denying the allegations, the statement added.
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