The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has entered a settlement with two alleged promoters of the multi-billion dollar BTC scam BitConnect. The two consented to paying over $3.7 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. They are also to forfeit 190 BTC to the regulator, worth $8.9 million at current prices.
In its August 19 press release, the SEC revealed that the Southern District of New York had entered a judgment on August 13 against Michael Noble, better known as Michael Crypto and his partner in crime, Joshua Jeppesen, for their involvement with BitConnect. The court also entered a final judgment against Laura Mascola as a relief defendant.
In May, the SEC charged Noble in connection with allegedly promoting BitConnect and selling securities in its lending program from June 2017 to January 2018. The watchdog claimed that Noble sold the securities without registering with the commission and without being registered as a broker-dealer.
Jeppesen was accused of serving as a liaison between BitConnect and promoters and represented the company at events, while Mascola allegedly received certain proceeds from Jeppesen’s BitConnect activities.
BitConnect was once one of the biggest successes in the world of digital currencies. After an ICO in December 2016, the project saw its native token shoot up to $400 in 2017, with its market cap hitting $2.6 billion at one point.
Industry experts, however, warned investors against investing in what they described as a Ponzi scheme. For one, it guaranteed its investors a 40 percent monthly return, reportedly coming from its own proprietary trading bot and volatility software. True to prediction, the project shut down in early 2018, as CoinGeek reported.
In their settlements, Noble and Jeppesen “are permanently enjoined from violating the charged provisions and from offering, operating, or participating in certain marketing or sales programs and from participating directly or indirectly in a digital asset securities offering.”
Jeppesen will pay $3,039,485 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. He must also pay a $150,000 penalty and forfeit 190 BTC, worth close to $9 million. Mascola was ordered to pay $576,358 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. For Noble, the court will determine at a later date the amount he should pay in penalties and disgorgement.
Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—a from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple and
Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.