US regulator intervenes in ongoing alleged digital asset fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intervened in an ongoing alleged digital asset fraud, after identifying an individual raising capital while falsely claiming to hold the necessary securities licenses.

The SEC filed an emergency action and temporary restraining order against Shawn C. Cutting of Sandpoint, Idaho, having petitioned the court to temporarily freeze his assets in connection with the allegations.

The regulator alleges Cutting has raised millions of dollars off the back of false claims about his licensing status, as well as through misrepresenting investment returns and misappropriating investor money.

From October 2017, the SEC alleges Cutting began raising money from investors on a false prospectus, securing $6.9 million from some 450 individual investors. Investors were told the funds would be pooled and invested into digital assets, offering a rate of return in excess of 50% a month.

Cutting allegedly falsely held out as having experience as a financial adviser, and told investors he held securities licenses, both of which were untrue. He is also reported to have misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal expenditure, including luxury cars, home improvements and paying for his daughter’s wedding.

He is then alleged to have solicited more money by falsifying results to induce further investment. Cutting allegedly also spent $760,000 in Ponzi-style payouts to investors in order to prolong the fraud.

The SEC has filed its complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, setting out a number of charges against Cutting under the Securities Act of 1933. The SEC is asking the court for emergency relief alongside a permanent injunction, to halt Cutting’s alleged behavior in soliciting investments.

The complaint is also seeking disgorgement of monies unlawfully obtained, as well as prejudgement interest and civil penalties.

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