SEC charges Opporty blockchain marketplace for fraudulent ICO

The U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission has charged the founder of a purported blockchain marketplace for conducting a fraudulent and irregular initial coin offering. In its filing, the SEC alleges that Sergii “Sergey” Grybniak, the founder and sole owner of Opporty blockchain marketplace raised $600,000 by misleading his investors.

The SEC filed the complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday. In it, it alleges that between September 2017 and October 2018, Sergey conducted an ICO for Opporty where he raised approximately $600,000 from 200 investors. He sold OPP tokens to the investors without filing with the SEC.

The watchdog further alleges that Sergey made “material misrepresentations and omissions to investors and engaged in other deceptive conduct during the offering.” These include saying that Opporty’s user base was steadily rising and that the users were creating content on the platform. He also led them to believe that a renowned investor had backed the firm.

Sergey touted Opporty as a blockchain ecosystem for small businesses and their clients to connect. Small businesses could list their products and services, and their clients could enter into agreements with them through smart contracts.

The regulator revealed that Sergey and his company falsely claimed that the platform had onboarded 17 million small businesses and 6,000 verified providers. In addition, he claimed that OPP tokens were registered by the SEC and that the ICO was “100% SEC compliant.”

In doing so, he engaged in securities fraud, violating the Securities Act.

The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions against Sergey. It also seeks to have him disgorge all the money he raised in the fraudulent scheme and pay prejudgment interest for the same. He must also never serve as an officer or director of a public company or offer digital assets or other securities.

Just a week ago, the SEC charged yet another ICO issuer for conducting an unregistered ICO. As CoinGeek reported, the watchdog sued blockchain growth promoter ICOBox and its founder for $16 million for an illegal securities sale which netted the company $14 million. The SEC also sought to have ICOBox founder pay $189,000 in civil penalties.

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