US State Regulators Order 'Fraudulent' Crypto Mining Scheme to Shut Down
The Texas State Securities Board and Alabama Securities Commission filed an emergency action against Ultra Mining, alleging it offered unregistered securities by promising to double investments in a cloud mining scheme.
The Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) and Alabama Securities Commission (ASC) ordered Ultra Mining to cease and desist, alleging it promised to double investments in a cloud mining scheme.
The state securities regulators filed an emergency action against Ultra BTC Mining and Laura Branch on Wednesday, alleging the firm promised to double investors' funds, touted a massive bitcoin price rise, offered affiliate and partner programs and claimed to donate to COVID-19 charity efforts without proof.
Ultra Mining allegedly raised $18 million.
According to the order, the investments in hash power appear to be securities. The TSSB is alleging that the respondents failed to register before selling these securities, and "are engaging in fraud" by making misleading statements about the returns.
"The company is promising eye-opening returns. According to the order, they are telling potential investors that a $10,000 investment in computing power will return nearly $10,500 per year. A $50,000 investment will return nearly $52,000 per year," a press release said.
The respondents claim that "bitcoin is still in a bull market," and expect the price to reach nearly $23,000, and letting investors who deposit at least $10,000 receive a greater share of the mining power, the order said.
Ultra Mining's website describes it as a "cryptocurrency bitcoin cloud mining company."
"The company provides modern, high-efficiency platform rental services for Bitcoin mining. We guarantee an instant connection, access 24/7, operation without any interruptions, real-time mining monitoring, easy-to-use and secure platform as well daily mining outputs," the company's website reads.
While the website links a Facebook page, the Twitter and Telegram icons on the site link to Twitter.com and Telegram.com, rather than actual social media profiles. (Note: Telegram.com is the local newspaper for Worcester, Mass., while Telegram.org leads to the messaging app.)
Ultra Mining is also claiming to have donated at least $100,000 to Unicef to fight COVID-19, and claims it will donate again.
However, "respondents ... are expressly refusing to provide any information that verifies the donation, that potential investors can rely upon to independently verify the donation or that demonstrates their financial ability to donate the money," the order said.
Ultra Mining did not immediately return a request for comment.
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