Business

Ed Drake

Colorado securities comes after new batch of alleged fraud ICOs

Regulators in Colorado are closing in on as many as 20 initial coin offerings (ICOs) following investigations into the practice, according to a press release issued by the state Division of Securities.

Commissioner Gerald Rome gave the go-ahead for action against 18 new ICOs in addition to two that are still outstanding, after the division’s ICO Task Force identified potential regulatory breaches.

Specifically, the promoters of these ICOs have been ordered to cease and desist from offering unregistered securities in the state of Colorado, in a move that echoes similar steps from regulators and law enforcement across the wider United States.

The task force was established back in May with the remit to investigate sites that were suspected of being involved in fraudulent activity, including issuing tokens and promoting ICOs which were in fact securities, but were not appropriately registered or listed.

These potentially criminal breaches are being flagged by regulators with increasing frequency, as the net continues to close around dubious initial coin offerings.

Commissioner Rome said that their investigations had identified examples of outright fraud and misrepresentation, as he urged investors to be cautious. He explained, “The sheer number of orders entered against ICOs should be a red flag to all investors that there is a real risk that the ICO you are considering is a fraud…Our investigations show that there are fraudsters who will simply create a fake ICO to steal investors’ money, or spoof a legitimate ICO to trick investors into wrongfully paying them.”

The latest four orders were issued to CyberSmart Coin Invest, CrowdShare Mining, Global Pay Net and Credits LLC, each of which the Commissioner said had been engaged in fraudulent conduct.

Global Pay Net is accused of misleading investors by promising “investors receive 80 percent of the company’s profits”, while CrowdShare claimed investors would see returns of 1000% within four years, according to the state regulator.

The volume of enforcement action being undertaken against ICOs is keeping regulators nationwide busy, with securities agencies at state level taking a lead from similar actions being pursued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Recently, regulators in Italy joined the increasingly international effort to clamp down on fraudulent ICOs, announcing action against three firms who were not registered in compliance with local financial laws.

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