DOJ Charges ICO Co-Founder With Securities Fraud

NEWS
Stan Higgins
Apr 20, 2018 at 17:53 UTC  |  Updated  Apr 20, 2018 at 17:56 UTC

The Department of Justice has unveiled fraud charges against another co-founder of cryptocurrency startup Centra, a move that comes weeks after two other founders were arrested and charged.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said Friday that Ray Trapani has been arrested and charged in connection with the company's token sale, which was notably endorsed by heavyweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Specifically, Trapani has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud.

Fellow Centra founders Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas were sanctioned at the beginning of the month by the U.S. government, with actions by both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the DOJ. Their startup first made headlines in September when the boxing champ endorsed their ICO - tied to a cryptocurrency-backed credit card - on social media. Subsequent reports cast doubt on the claims made by Centra, particularly the contention that the firm had working relationships with Visa and Mastercard.

"As alleged, Raymond Trapani conspired with his co-defendants to lure investors with false claims about their product and about relationships they had with credible financial institutions. While investing in virtual currencies is legal, lying to deceive investors is not," Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami said in a statement.

Separately, the SEC filed charges against Trapani, according to the Justice Department.

Justice statue image via Shutterstock 

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