Business 28 February 2018Gerald Fenech
Crypto market scam LeadInvest goes blind in Texas
It appears that the fraudsters and scammers who are taking advantage of the cryptocurrency market are on the increase of late.
The latest company to be slapped with a cease and desist order in the state of Texas is Leadinvest, which at first glance appears to be a pyramid scheme. This follows hot on the heels of other failed ventures such as BitConnect and USI Tech, which have also vanished from the Northern American market but not before taking thousands of investors for a ride.
According to the order, LeadInvest targeted investors in Texas and failed not only to disclose the background and qualifications of its team members, but also the liabilities associated with its mining and lending operations. The team associated with the project is also non-existent, with stock photos being used in conjunction with fabricated names, authorities said.
The largest red flag for the Texas State Securities Board was the fact that the platform was offering unlicensed securities for sale, and therefore violating most of the Texas Securities Act.
On closer examination, the LeadInvest website is loaded with “get-rich-quick” language promising interested parties incredible returns, and that “zero” cryptocurrency experience is required to get involved. After a light attempt at explaining the cryptocurrency market, the team is presented along with a call to action informing investors of getting started even with just a few cents.
The site also features a “careers” tab in which a vague job description is offered, and is geared towards promoters for the program. As more of these types of scams appear, their longevity will most likely be throttled by government officials that are now on high alert due to a sharp increase in fraud in the space. Unfortunately, this is also giving a bad name to the crypto currency market.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the securities commissioner of the state of Texas has directly targeted fraud related to the cryptocurrency space. Just last month, the Texas board accused known cryptocurrency scam BitConnect of both fraud and selling unlicensed securities. The order led to the eventual downfall of the platform, with its underlying asset losing over 90% of its value in a short period of time.
DavorCoin, another lending platform dealing with the sale of unlicensed securities, was also recently issued an emergency order by the Texas commissioner. Similar to BitConnect, users purchased DavorCoin’s underlying asset in order to lend it on the platform and receive a commission for doing so. Although DavorCoin issued a statement claiming that BitConnect’s downfall didn’t “change anything for (them),” it quickly became the fourth sting by the Texas government due to issuing unlicensed securities. Yet another was the USI Tech scam which is still under investigation but that company has abandoned operations in North America.
The commissioner in Texas has truly taken the bull by the horns when it comes to targeting fraud in the space and will most likely continue to do so as more “lending” platforms materialize.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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