The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has brought charges against three additional defendants in its ongoing case against Boaz Manor and Edith Pardo for raising $30 million in an allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO).
The case against Manor and Pardo and their companies, CG Blockchain and BCT, Inc. alleges that the two hid Manor’s real identity using a combination of aliases and physical disguises, including growing a beard and dying his hair, to hide his past as a convicted criminal. Together, Manor and Pardo raised $30 million from investors for BCT’s product, a blockchain-based alternative to the Bloomberg Terminal, based on fraudulent claims.
The new charges against Ali Asif Hamid, Michael Gietz, and Cristine Page allege that the three served in leadership positions in the ICO. According to an SEC statement, the three have been charged with selling unregistered securities and helping Manor and Pardo conceal Manor’s criminal history and bamboozle investors.
This case is one in a string of cases brought by the SEC against fraudulent ICOs in the wake of 2017’s ICO boom and bust.
So far, only Page has agreed to a settlement that includes permanent injunctions, a disgorgement of the digital assets that she received in connection with the ICO, and a civil penalty of $192,768.
In April 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey asked the SEC to pause its civil action against Manor and Pardo while it conducts its own criminal case against the two. The SEC did not oppose the motion.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.