Securities watchdogs in the United States and Canada have filed parallel charges against Troy Richard James Hogg, a Canadian national, accusing him of raising $51 million from investors through an illegal token offering.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Canada’s Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) allege that Hogg used his two companies, Arbitrade Exchange and Cryptobontix Inc., to promote and sell Dignity digital asset to investors around the world.
Hogg and his companies defrauded investors with misleading and false statements in his promotional materials. These included claiming that his companies had acquired $10 billion worth of gold to back its tokens. He also falsely claimed that his companies had been audited by independent accounting firms. However, the regulators say that this was a lie.
According to the OSC, Hogg used a significant amount of the funds raised from investors for personal expenses, including purchasing real-estate and making payments to companies he owns.
The regulators have called on the courts to suspend the operations of the two companies in the two respective jurisdictions. In addition, they want Hogg and his companies to refund all the ill-gotten wealth to the investors and for him to be barred from holding any other similar position in the securities industry.
The SEC has intensified its crackdown on the digital asset industry as it seeks to stamp out criminals from the sector. In doing so, the regulator is positioning itself as the go-to agency to oversee the industry, a position it has been fighting for with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Legislators have leaned towards the CFTC and there’s already a bill in Congress seeking to cement the CFTC’s role.
However, the bill leaves it to the SEC to determine which tokens fall under securities laws and to take action against them.
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