Maryland Targets Trading Platform Fraud as It Joins 'Cryptosweep' Effort

The second wave of Operation Cryptosweep commenced early this year resulting in 35 enforcement actions with nearly 100 pending.

AccessTimeIconAug 15, 2019 at 4:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:20 a.m. UTC

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said Wednesday that the state’s securities market watchdog will become part of an international effort to crack down on cryptocurrency related fraud.

The state is the latest to join “Operation Cryptosweep,” an initiative led by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). As part of the second wave of the operation, 35 enforcements have been taken and nearly 100 more are pending to date.

According to the Maryland’s top enforcer, the number of cryptocurrency-related scams has climbed recent months. Accordingly, the Maryland Securities Division has taken an enforcement action against a crypto promotion scam promising 150 percent returns on investments.

Last week, Texas officials announced they have taken 4 emergency actions against crypto firms since June.

Both governments attribute the surge in malicious initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto-related investment products to the rising price of bitcoin and the publicity that followed Facebook’s move to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra.

“Cryptocurrency investments are risky. Investors should be extra cautious when dealing with promoters who claim their offering does not have to be registered with securities regulators,” Frosh said in a statement.

He continued to say “returns of 150 percent are as rare as Bigfoot," a reference to the platform Maryland is moving to sanction. The division has also created a help line and educational video service that breaks down key crypto concepts for consumers.

Maryland flag photo via Shutterstock

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