The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged a Tennessee couple over a $6 million digital asset investment scam known as “Blessings of God Thru Crypto.”
In its filing with the Middle District of Tennessee, the agency alleged that Michael and Amanda Griffis, a realtor couple from Clarksville, Tennessee, defrauded over 100 investors from 10 states.
The CFTC charged husband and wife realtors of Tennessee for operating a $6M digital assets commodity pool scheme. Learn more: https://t.co/pPq9hV8qeU
— CFTC (@CFTC) July 25, 2023
The couple allegedly solicited investors to place their money in a collective pool to trade commodity futures contracts. Styled as “Blessings of God Thru Crypto,” the pool was purported to allow investors to bet on the future price of digital assets.
The CFTC accuses the couple of material misinformation, including promises of exaggerated profits and zero risk, misrepresenting how they would use the funds, and claiming the pool was legal when it wasn’t. They also claimed to be experts in the field despite having no prior experience and lied about getting investing advice from a person only identified as “Coach Wendy.”
The two didn’t invest in digital asset futures as claimed, says the CFTC. Instead, they sent over $4 million to Michael’s Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) account and onwards to anonymous digital asset wallets. These funds are now untraceable and can’t be recovered.
They then used $1 million on personal expenses, including debt payments and purchasing new cars and expensive jewelry. The rest of the funds went to some of the early investors in Ponzi-like payments to perpetuate the scheme for as long as possible.
“The defendants betrayed their pool participants, and they profited from that betrayal. Today’s filing reinforces the CFTC’s long-standing commitment to hold accountable those who take advantage of victims,” commented Director of Enforcement Ian McGinley.
CFTC is pushing for civil monetary penalties and ancillary relief, including restitution to the victims. It also seeks prejudgment interest and a permanent injunction restraining the two from trading in commodities or digital assets.
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