Daily fraud update: 20th January

Chris Lee

SEC warns investors over ICOs

SEC warns investors over ICOs

A major US regulator has told cryptocurrency investors that they must be careful when considering investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an extended warning after a man was charged over claims that he operated a scam ICO which managed to extract tens of millions of dollars from American investors.

In the warning, which was published on the SEC’s website, the chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit – Joseph G. Sansone – advised that traders research the people behind the ICO vehicles they might choose to invest in.

“Learning about the identity and background of the individual or individuals behind a venture is one of the first things we tell investors to do before trusting anyone with their money”, he said.

“As alleged in our complaint, Manor’s brazen scheme to conceal his identity and criminal history deprived investors of essential information and allowed the defendants to take over $30 million from investors’ pockets”, he added.

The case focused on Boaz Manor – who has been accused of selling cryptocurrencies as securities.

The aim of the ICO was to raise cash for hedge funds and a range of other financial participants.

Manor supposedly told investors that there were 20 hedge funds going through the testing process for the kit which he was hoping to raise cash for through an ICO.

This, according to the SEC, was a lie.

“In reality, the defendants had only sent a prototype to a dozen funds, and none of the funds used it or paid for it”, its statement read.

“Manor allegedly admitted to certain investors that he concealed his identity because its disclosure would result in ‘the company being destroyed’”, it added.

Manor, who was based in the Canadian city of Toronto, allegedly altered his physical appearance in order to ensure his real past as a former prisoner was not revealed.

He also allegedly used an alias, Shaun MacDonald, and allegedly also led investors to believe that the firm was owned by an associate of his names Edith Pardo.

It is understood that the alleged scam took place between August 2017 and September 2018.

Accused Nigerian scammer abandoned by business

The firm at which a Nigerian man accused of large scale forex fraud worked has come out against its former employee.

Blueprint Consulting, which employed Seye Onigbinde, said in a statement that it would co-operate with any police investigation.

Referring to Onigbinde’s alleged forex trading, which has seen him arrested by police, the firm sought to distance itself.

“Onigbinde did this illegally without the consent and or authority of other partners of the company”, a statement read.

“We use this opportunity to indicate the readiness of Blueprint Consulting to indicate the availability of our Managing Partner, Mr. Tijani Ramoni Adeyanju, to cooperate with the security agencies in their investigations of the allegations levied against Mr. Seye Onigbinde”, it added.


Chris Lee

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