The U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey is seeking to pause the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) civil action against Blockchain Terminal founder Boaz Manor while it conducts its own criminal case against Manor’s alleged $30 million ICO fraud.
Assistant U.S. attorneys said in a Wednesday memorandum their prosecutions of Manor and associate Edith Pardo “substantially overlap” with the SEC case. They have asked the judge in the SEC case, Stanley R. Chesler, to issue a stay to “preserve the integrity” of their criminal case. The SEC “does not oppose” the motion, according to the filing.
Both are prosecuting Manor and Pardo’s allegedly fraudulent BCT token offering, said by the SEC to have raised $30 million for the development of digital securities hedge fund technology in 2017 and 2018. The SEC also alleged Manor never disclosed to investors his criminal background, real identity or his ties to a failed Canadian hedge fund.
Manor was convicted of breach of trust in 2011 in connection to the Portus hedge fund, which, before shuttering in 2005, had misappropriated over $100 million in investor funds. Manor served one year of his four-year sentence. He eventually headed to the U.S. for a new venture called Blockchain Terminal.
As documented in a December 2018 investigation by The Block, a “Shaun MacDonald” leading the startup’s race to build a “Bloomberg Terminal’ for the initial coin offering space was actually Manor in disguise. Blockchain Terminal’s employees were unaware of Manor’s backstory, and neither were the 275 U.S. investors in the BCT ICO.
A grand jury indicted Manor and Pardo with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud prior to the SEC complaint, according to the memorandum. Civil and criminal charges were unveiled on Jan. 17.
The attorney’s office now wants to temporarily freeze the SEC action. Letting that case move forward would give the defendants room to delay and degrade the criminal procedure, they said.
Pardo pleaded not guilty on Jan. 22, according to the memorandum. Manor remains at large.
Read the full memo below:
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.