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SEC Sues Mobile Wallet Tech Firm Rivetz Over 2017 ICO

The SEC says Rivetz’ CEO used some of the money to award himself a bonus and buy a house in the Cayman Islands.

Sep 9, 2021 at 4:38 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 9, 2021 at 5:13 p.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is suing Rivetz, a now-defunct crypto payments startup, over its $18 million initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017, which the SEC says was an unregistered securities offering.

The SEC alleged Thursday that between June and September of 2017, Rivetz and its CEO, 58-year-old Steven K. Sprague, marketed and sold RvT tokens to over 7,200 investors around the world, including the United States.

While the SEC says that Sprague and Rivetz “used the funds raised primarily to capitalize” Rivetz’s business, the sale of RvT tokens was not registered with the agency.

According to the complaint, Sprague used a portion of the proceeds, collected in ether and sold for U.S. dollars, to award himself a one-time bonus of $1 million.

He also allegedly borrowed $2.5 million from the funds to “purchase a house in the Cayman Islands that he then leased back to Rivetz Int’l,” a wholly-owned international subsidiary of Rivetz.

The SEC is seeking a final judgement that includes disgorgement and a civil penalty for Rivetz, Rivetz International and Sprague.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy.

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