Prosecutors in New Jersey have intervened in a case against CG Blockchain and its two proprietors, arguing that it could affect a parallel investigation. The defendants are accused of conducting a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) and netting $30 million from their victims. The state has now hit pause on the legal proceedings until the completion of the investigation.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Boaz Manor with conducting an ICO under a fake identity. Manor is a convicted criminal and used the fake identity to mask this from the investors. He allegedly worked with Edith Pardo, a New Jersey resident who posed as the investor behind CG Blockchain. The plan worked and the two managed to lure hundreds of investors, raking in over $30 million.
But now, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office for New Jersey want the case halted, a report by Law360 reveals. They argue that the stay is necessary to ensure that the two suspects and their legal teams don’t acquire any information unearthed from a parallel investigation into their dubious operations. The SEC filed a civil lawsuit against the two which allows a broad discovery of information.
Part of its filing stated, “A civil litigant should not be permitted to proceed simultaneously with an overlapping criminal matter, because ‘the similarity of the issues leaves open the possibility that the defendant might improperly exploit civil discovery for the advancement of his criminal case.”
As CoinGeek reported, the SEC charged the two with conspiracy and wire fraud, both carrying a maximum 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The Department of Justice also charged them with securities fraud, a charge that carries yet another 20 years with a hefty $5 million fine.
The regulator claimed that Manor withheld from investors some crucial information, with the most significant being that he was a convicted criminal. He had served a four-year prison sentence in Canada for defrauding $106 million from a hedge fund he had co-founded. To conceal his past, he used a new name—Shaun MacDonald. He is still at large, but his defense team has been representing him in court.
Pardo, on the other hand, posed as a wealthy investor who believed in CG Blockchain’s product—a blockchain service targeting hedge funds, allowing them to record transactions on the blockchain. She was arrested by the authorities, but was later released.
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