Ex-beauty queen disappears as court hears $12M ICO lawsuit

A former beauty queen turned digital currency entrepreneur has allegedly disappeared after raising $12 million in a failed initial coin offering (ICO), according to court reports.

Jessica VerSteeg, along with husband Egor Lavrov, pioneered the ParagonCoin ICO in 2017, at the peak of the ICO craze. The ICO raised $12 million in support of its token, which was linked to a blockchain platform for the cannabis industry.

Faced with lawsuits from disgruntled investors, the defendants failed to appear in court, or to respond to the claims laid against them.

An earlier decision of a court in the Northern District of California said that buyers of the token could form a class to pursue a class action lawsuit against Paragon, amid allegations the ICO was an illegal securities offering.

Former attorney for the defendants, Donald Enright, withdrawing as counsel, said though he hadn’t heard from VerSteeg or Lavrov “in years,” the case was far from over.

“Once we have the class certified we will then seek default judgment on behalf of the entire class for all of their damages for the full value of the Paragon ICO.”

A Forbes article in 2018 said Paragon Space had been due to launch on September 1.

“Paragon offers everything from a cryptocurrency (ParagonCoin, traded as PRG) to a blockchain solution (ParagonChain) designed to expedite and digitize the marijuana supply chain. Now, VerSteeg’s latest venture is Paragon Space, Los Angeles’ first cannabis co-working space set to open on September 1.”

However, the timescale was interrupted by legal action from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in connection with the ICO, with investors still yet to see the return of their funds.

The case is the latest ICO to end up in court, as the law catches up with those responsible for promoting unlawful digital currency schemes.

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