Daily fraud update: 20th February

Chris Lee

Industry issues warning after Peirce’s intervention

The cryptocurrency industry has responded to the “safe harbour” intervention made recently by a figure from a major US regulator.

Hester Peirce, who serves as a commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission and who is known affectionately within the industry as “Crypto Mom”, said recently that she wanted to give crypto companies a period of three years before laws around securities apply to them.

Her proposal would set up what is effectively a “safe harbour” – although it is believed that other members of the Securities and Exchange Commission would agree to such an intervention.

According to CoinDesk and Yahoo! Finance, there have been a range of responses within the industry to this proposal.

The co-founder of CoinList and its current President, Andy Bromberg, focused on the token trading aspect of Peirce’s intervention.

“We actually want these to be traded on exchanges”, he said.

“She was making a statement that a lot of people think were coming from a securities law perspective but it’s important for tokens to be trading”, he added.

From a practical perspective, Peter Van Valkenburgh – who serves as director of research at the think tank Coin Center – emphasised the uncertain nature of the claims.

“For this to become official policy it would have to be bought into from the other commissioners and [SEC Chairman Jay Clayton], so we’d have to wait for that”, he was quoted as saying.

Alleged OneCoin conspirator sees sentencing delayed

A man who is accused of having conspired to be part of the now-infamous OneCoin scam has had his sentencing date delayed.

Mark Scott, who is accused of having conspired to defraud OneCoin victims out of a significant sum of cash, has asked the court to avoid sentencing him on the proposed date of 22nd April.

Instead he has asked that the sentencing takes place on 26th May of this year – or, if that is not possible, at some point afterwards.

His legal team has also acted to ask the court for a rescheduling of a proposed bond hearing.

It is believed that Scott needs to attend a medical appointment which was already planned.

According to the submission, the defence team suggested late in February as a possibility.

“Should February 26th be unsuitable, defense counsel is unavailable on February 27th and 28th”, said the submission.

The request also focused on bail conditions.

“In addition, Mr. Scott respectfully requests that the Court direct the Government to make a submission no later than Friday, February 21, 2020, setting forth its arguments for any change in bail conditions”, it said.

“This will allow defense counsel to investigate and respond to any arguments that the Government may offer at or before the hearing.”

OneCoin, which has existed since 2014, has been the subject of a great deal of controversy recently following allegations that it was a systematic Ponzi scheme.

Its founder, Ruja Ignatova, continues to evade justice and is on the run.


Chris Lee

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