While Bitcoin has seen a significant resurgence, it was also the year where scams and fraudulent operations proliferated. However, authorities have also grown in their ability to crack these operations and crackdown against them.
Crypto, Forex, Binary
In the latest sweeping action, the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) has announced charges against 15 fraudulent schemes advertising false investments, according to an official press release.
The agency confirmed that it had sent out at least three cease-and-desist orders targeting companies that sell fake crypto, forex, and binary options investments.
In the TSSB’s first order, it identified ten investment platforms linked to one James Blundell. The fraudster allegedly used the companies to attract investors with the promise of returns in just a matter of hours.
The Texas resident also reportedly promoted his scams on social media accounts, positioning himself as a thought leader in the investment world. He additionally advertised an official trading license from Texas State, although TSSB confirmed that he had no such thing.
The second order accuses three firms – FX Trades, IQTrade, and Binary Trade Forex – which operate from Valentine, Texas.
Like Blundell’s firms, the companies solicited funds from investors in exchange for lucrative returns on forex, cryptocurrencies, and binary options investments. They got fake testimonials to add to their credibility, luring investors with attractive rates.
Also, like Blundell, the firms used fake registration claims. They touted themselves as “e-gaming” firms registered by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Company. However, the TSSB disclosed that they had not registered to sell securities in the state.
As for the third order, the TSSB nailed GeniusPlanFxPro, a crypto and forex trading company that claimed to be from Austin. Along with claiming regulation with the TSSB, the firm also added that it had registered with the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority.
Dealing With Fraudsters All Year
The TSSB has been one of the United States’ most active regulators this year concerning cracking down against fraudsters. Along with these new firms, the agency already has its plate filled with Angus Jerrard, a South African resident who started three “double your money” businesses.
In a press release from August, the TSSB alleged that Jerrard ran three firms — Liquidity Gold Trust, Liquidity Gold Solution LLC, and Liquidity Global Card Solution (PTY) LTD. The firms had run illegal ads on a radio station in Austin, promoting the Liquidity Card – a self-proclaimed crypto MasterCard that works with stablecoins.
The fraudster and his company also claimed that they worked with several top stablecoins, including PAX and TrueUSD. Touting the credit card, the companies claimed that holders would get profits and spend them. They added that the card would help investors avoid the taxes they would otherwise pay when converting their cryptocurrencies to fiat.
Along with the card, the Liquidity Group also sold a multilevel marketing scheme to investors.
As the TSSB claimed, the firm hired marketed to promote their products. One of their most recent ads even claimed that investors could get a “portion” of the crypto project for $1,150. Buyers would get residual income from fees paid by Liquidity Card holders, and they could get up to $1,152 in returns after 18 months.