SEC is nearing settlements with four people accused of promoting unregistered securities BitConnect
U.S. Judge John G. Koeltl in Manhattan said he would likely sign off in the coming days following a ruling against four of the six defendants accused of receiving millions of dollars in commissions and payments by promoting unregistered securities BitConnect before it went implosion in early 2018.
The terms of the settlements with BitConnect are currently awaiting final approval from Judge John Koelt
BitConnect was one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in the crypto market in 2017. They scammed around $2.5 billion from thousands of investors over the span of a year. The scam has gone global, with John Louis Anthony Bigatton, 53-year-old Australian promoter, facing six counts with penalties ranging from two years to ten years for his role in the scheme.
Judge Koeltl said the settlement agreements were legally sound but needed minor fixes to make them scrupulously accurate.
The SEC sued six individuals in May after a January 2018 move by Texas and North Carolina regulators to shut down U.K.-based BitConnect and a related program in which crypto borrowers were supposed to be able to earn daily returns with no risk by pledging Bitcoin to borrow and trade its tokens called BitConnect Coin.
SEC announced that 5 individuals will face charges relating to promoting the Bitconnect Ponzi scheme
At that time, BitConnect told participants it was closing its lending program. Investors recruited by the defendants were unable to pull their money out while the value of BitConnect’s tokens fell by 92%.
Based on the settlement, payments due include more than $3 million from Joshua Heppensen of Massachusetts. While his fiancee, defendant Laura Mascola had to pay about $576,000 dollars she received from Jeppesen. Finally, promoter Ryan Maasen of Oklahoma was on track to pay $526,000 to settle while a fourth regional defendant, regional promoter Michael Noble of California, was on track to settle in a yet to be determined.
Noble told Judge Koeltl that he was “very cooperative” with the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice. But, he said, he has “locked horns” so far with the SEC over how much money he will have to pay. Two other district promoters, Trevon Brown of South Carolina and Craig Grant of Florida, have yet to reach an agreement with the SEC, Judge Koeltl said.
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