SEC Pursues $45M Scam Based in Fake Blockchain Technology

The U.S. securities agency is going after the people behind what it says was a massive fraud stealing from tens of thousands of investors.

AccessTimeIconJan 4, 2023 at 11:18 p.m. UTC
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Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.

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Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused alleged fraudster Neil Chandran and several others for orchestrating a scheme to get cash from tens of thousands of investors globally on the false promise that they were securing a lucrative deal to sell blockchain technology.

Chandran, who has already been held since last year on federal fraud charges stemming from the same case, owns several companies and scammed investors for more than $45 million through intermediaries who claimed to be sharing information about a pending deal for the technology, which was known to investors as “CoinDeal,” the federal regulator said Wednesday.

The SEC also accused Garry Davidson, Michael Glaspie, Amy Mossel and Linda Knott of working with Chandran in violating U.S. securities laws.

“We allege the defendants falsely claimed access to valuable blockchain technology and that the imminent sale of the technology would generate investment returns of more than 500,000 times for investors,” said Daniel Gregus, Director of the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office. The money actually went to purchase luxury cars, real estate and a boat for the personal use of Chandran and the others, in addition to being misappropriated for his other businesses, according to the SEC and Department of Justice.

CoinDeal is also the name of a cryptocurrency exchange helmed by Adam Bicz and Kajetan Maćkowiak and based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, having moved there from Malta in 2021; there appears to be no connection between the two.

Companies AEO Publishing Inc, Banner Co-Op, Inc, and BannersGo, LLC were also associated with the Chandran fraud and were said to be the recipients of investors’ cash and crypto payments.

Investors have lamented for months in online forums including Reddit that the deal they pumped money into was apparently a scam, often associated with “Mike G” – another name Glaspie commonly used as he recruited investors.

The SEC is seeking to recover the remainder of the money and intends to fine those involved.

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Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.


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Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.