US regulator agrees settlement with alleged crypto fraud

Denise Jacksone

A leading regulatory body in the United States has told defendants in a crypto case that it is happy to accept a settlement with them.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been attempting to prosecute Bruce Bise and Sam Mende, who were responsible for a company called Bitqyck.

Bitqyck sold a number of digital assets, including Bitqy and BitqyM.

These were, however, what the Securities and Exchange Commission describes as “unregistered securities”.

The pair are believed to have sold these securities to over 13,000 traders.

It is understood that over the course of the whole saga, the pair made over $13m from the traders they targeted.

Overall, however, the traders lost 66% or more of the cash they put down as part of their investments in the organisations run by the defendants.

There were allegedly some referral bonuses in place, however – to the tune of $4.5 million.

The details of the alleged crimes were outlined in a press release, which was released on Thursday of this week.

The SEC claimed that the company, which was based in the Texas city of Dallas, told its investors that it offered a “daily deals” platform.

Bitqy was presented as a token that would offer small shares of value using a smart contract.

The mining, it claimed, would be carried out by a cheap electricity provider.

However, the reality was allegedly that Bitqyck did not have an arrangement with a low-cost provider.

It also allegedly ran a platform called TradeBQ – which was an exchange, again not registered with the relevant authorities.

Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission has confirmed that it will settle the charges against the pair.

As part of the settlement, the pair have not submitted a plea – and they will not need to either admit to the actions or deny them.

They will need to pay a number of large fees though.

As a firm, Bitqyck will have to pay a combined fee of over $8m to cover disgorgement, prejudgment interest and a civil penalty.

Bise will pay $890,254 on an individual basis, while Mendez will pay $850,022.

In a statement, David Pearler – who is the director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office – shared his thoughts on how the alleged crimes came to occur.

“Because digital investment assets represent a new and exciting technology, they can be very alluring, especially if investors believe they are getting in on the ground floor and will own part of the operations”, he said.

“We allege that the defendants took advantage of investors’ appetite for these investments and fraudulently raised millions of dollars by lying about their business.” 

In the statement, the SEC confirmed that it had co-operated with the Texas State Securities Board as part of the investigation.

This organisation is well-known for conducting crusades against illegitimate crypto businesses.

It regularly issues cease and desist orders and other instructions against organisations in its jurisdiction which it considers to be operating without permission or in a fraudulent way.

Denise Jacksone

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