The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States has reached an agreement with two of the alleged promoters of the multibillion-dollar Bitcoin (BTC) fraud BitConnect. The two agreed to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling over $3.7 million. They must also hand over 190 bitcoins to the regulator, worth $8.9 million at today’s pricing.
The SEC announced in a news release on August 19 that the Southern District of New York had issued a judgment against Michael Noble, also known as Michael Crypto, and his accomplice, Joshua Jeppesen, for their involvement with BitConnect on August 13. In addition, Laura Mascola was also named as a relief defendant, and the court issued a final judgment against her.
From June 2017 through January 2018, the SEC charged Noble for allegedly promoting BitConnect and selling securities in its loan program. According to the watchdog, Noble sold the securities without registering with the commission or being licensed as a broker-dealer.
BitConnect was formerly one of the most successful digital currency ventures. Following an initial coin offering (ICO) in December 2016, the project’s native token soared above $400 in 2017, with a market cap of $2.6 billion at one time.
On the other hand, industry experts cautioned investors against participating in what they called a Ponzi scheme. For one thing, it promised its investors a 40% monthly return, based on its unique trading bot and volatility software, according to reports. As predicted, the project was shut down in early 2018, according to CoinGeek.
Noble and Jeppesen were permanently barred from violating the accused terms, as well as from providing, operating, or engaging in specified marketing or sales activities, and from directly or indirectly participating in a digital asset securities offering, according to their agreements.
Disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $3,039,485 to be paid by Jeppesen. In addition, he must pay a $150,000 fine and surrender 190 BTC, which is worth about $9 million. Mascola was ordered to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of $576,358. The court will determine the number of penalties and disgorgement that Noble must pay at a later date.