US regulator charges 3 new defendants in major ICO fraud case

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended charges in a $30 million fraud case, covering an additional three defendants thought to have been involved in the swindle.

The fraud under investigation was led by convicted fraudster Boaz Manor, alongside his criminal associate Edith Pardo. Manor and Pardo founded CG Blockchain and BCT Inc., two companies that claimed to develop blockchain-powered tools for hedge funds. Manor, Pardo and their companies had previously been charged by the U.S. securities regulator in connection with the case, dating back to January 2020.

The extended charges see three new defendants brought into the fold: Ali Asif Hamid, Michael Gietz, and Cristine Page, aka Cristina Page.

As per the SEC complaint, Hamid, Gietz, and Page have been charged with violating, or assisting violations of antifraud provisions in U.S. securities law, as well as offenses related to securities registration requirements.

The SEC complaint is seeking disgorgement with interest, penalties and injunctive relief. So far, Page has agreed to a settlement without accepting liability, which could see her submitting to disgorgement, as well as a penalty of $192,768, pending court approval.

In a press statement, the SEC set out the details of its complaint, and the nature of the allegations against the parties.

“According to the SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, defendants Ali Asif Hamid of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, Michael Gietz of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Cristine Page of Brooklyn, New York, played leadership roles in an ICO that would purportedly fund the development of technology to trade digital assets, while at the same time actively hiding Manor’s role as the head of this venture.”

“The SEC’s complaint charges Hamid, Gietz, and Page with violating and aiding and abetting violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and with violating securities registration requirements. The complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, penalties, and injunctive relief.”

The case is the latest prosecution brought by the SEC in connection with ICO fraud, amid wider enforcement action against the sector.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to BinanceBitcoin.comBlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbaseRipple and
—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.