Daily fraud update: 9th April

Chris Lee

Cease and desist order in place for cloud mining firm

Two regional regulators in the US have told a cloud crypto mining firm that it must cease and desist from its activities.

Ultra Mining has been told by both the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) and Alabama Securities Commission (ASC) that it must stop its activities.

The regulators brought an emergency action against the firm, which is known in full as Ultra BTC Mining.

An individual named Laura Branch was also hit with the order.

The filing was made on Wednesday – although it is alleged that, so far, the firm has already raised close to $20m.

According to press reports, Ultra BTC Mining told traders that investing in it could lead to a doubling of funds.

It also allegedly made much noise about the potential rises in Bitcoin’s price.

In a move which is becoming increasingly noticeable in the crypto scam world, it also allegedly used the coronavirus crisis to exploit traders.

It supposedly said that it was making donations to charity relief schemes operated by UNICEF designed to help people during the pandemic, although it did not show proof of this.

In a press release, the Texas State Securities Board went into more detail about the nature of the alleged scam.

“The company is promising eye-opening returns. According to the order, they are telling potential investors that a $10,000 investment in computing power will return nearly $10,500 per year”, it explained.

“A $50,000 investment will return nearly $52,000 per year”, it added.

“Ultra Mining is also running what amounts to a recession special, according to the order. It is offering new investors an extra 30% of purchased cryptocurrency mining power for an initial deposit of $10,000.”

“The reason? ‘Hard times’ in the economy, according to the order”, the release continued.

It went on to explain details of an affiliate programme which the firm is understood to have offered.

Under this scheme, individuals who partner with the firm can supposedly derive a proportion of the deposits put down by anyone they recruit to sign up.

The firm claimed that there were even more rewards on offer for those who push the scheme on the video sharing site YouTube.

“The company is also operating an affiliate program that pays commissions to individuals who recruit new investors, according to the order”, said the State Securities Board.

“Affiliates receive 5% of the deposits from these new investors.”

“Ultra Mining’s ‘partners,’ however, are in line for larger payments”, it said.

“According to the order, partners are responsible for advertising the Ultra Mining investments in YouTube videos and can receive commissions up to 20% of the deposits received from new investors.”

There is now a window of opportunity for the firm to challenge the order from the Texas regulator if it wishes to.

It can file a notice to do so at the State Office of Administrative Hearings, but it has to do this within 31 days.


Chris Lee

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