Articles Tagged with Cryptocurrency

Stoltmann Law Offices is representing clients whose financial advisors have sold fraudulent cryptocurrency investments. In the past year, brokers have increasingly hawked investments that allegedly invest in digital cryptocurrencies. Some of these investments are fraudulent.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed an emergency action to stop an on-going fraudulent and unregistered crypto asset offering targeting Latino investors, run by defendants Mauricio Chavez and Giorgio Benvenuto through a company Chavez founded and controlled, CryptoFX, LLC. At the SEC’s request, a federal court issued a temporary restraining order halting the offering.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that, “in 2020, Chavez began holding paid classes for the ostensible purpose of educating and empowering the Latino community to build wealth through crypto asset trading. However, the complaint alleges Chavez had no background, education, or training in investments or crypto assets.”

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices is representing clients who’ve suffered losses from advisors who sold clients cryptocurrencies that have lost value and investors who have lost funds due to identity theft, fraud, and hacking involving their crypto-currency accounts.  One of the biggest stories in finance, has been the epic crash of cryptocurrencies, which were pitched as profitable alternatives to cash, stocks, and bonds. “Cryptos” were sold as sure-fire hedges against inflation, but as inflation continued to rise, digital currencies kept heading south in a big way.

Worse yet, the overselling of cryptos has been tied to $1 billion losses in outright scams involving more than 46,000 people, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As with most swindles, investors were enticed with the promise of quick wealth with no risk. The “Crypto Crash” goes beyond the perils of high inflation and supply chain issues, though. Many observers believe the promise of crypto wealth is actually a Ponzi scheme that’s not linked to any underlying legitimate investment and is fueled by a stream of new investors being duped by the illusion of instant wealth.

The decline in some cryptos has been devastating. According to Robert Reich in The Guardian: “TerraUSD, a `stablecoin,” – a system that was supposed to perform a lot like a conventional bank account, but was backed only by a cryptocurrency called Luna – collapsed, losing 97% of its value in just 24 hours, apparently destroying some investors’ life savings.”

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices is representing investors who’ve been victims of cryptocurrency thefts. These days, cryptocurrencies or “digital cash” are all the rage. You can speculate with it, buy a few consumer goods, and even play games. Unfortunately, like any currency that is a store of value, it can be stolen.

One of the largest heists in the short history of cryptocurrencies occurred recently when customers of Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn online game, lost some $625 million to a thieving hacker.

It was reported that the Axie account was hacked on March 23rd, although it was only revealed on Tuesday, March 29th.  According to Yahoo News, “Axie Infinity remains one of the most popular play-to-earn games, and users continued to log on Wednesday after news of the crypto heist. Hackers targeted a vulnerability in the bridge — or a software mechanism for exchanging types of crypto tokens — to drain funds in two separate transactions.”

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices represents investors who’ve suffered losses from being scammed by their financial advisors and the firms for whom they work. For operators peddling scam investments, every crisis is an opportunity. The tragic war in Ukraine is a sad example. Scamsters are ramping up their games to take advantage of people concerned about the crisis – and those hoping to profit from it.

Since the U.S. and European Union have frozen conventional Russian assets, global attention has shifted to the marketing of cryptocurrencies. These “virtual” coins are computer code not backed by hard assets or governments. They can be “minted” by anyone at any time. They are seen are alternative forms of cash, although many of them can be fraudulent.

Ukraine had been a center of cryptocurrency scams before the war.  Last year Ukrainian officials shut down “six illegal call centers. The operation carried out by the Security service of Ukraine has stopped these operations from continuing their cryptocurrency investment scams. From their base of operations, the crypto scammers were reaching out to countless potential victims to try to defraud them with promises of non-existent investment opportunities.”

Stoltmann Law Offices is a Chicago-based securities, investment fraud, and class action law firm offering representing to defrauded investors and victims of fraud nationwide on a contingency fee basis.  We have been closely monitoring allegations that IRA Financial Trust account owners had over $36 million in crypto-currency stolen from their IRAs through a hack of their system on or around February 8, 2022. IRA Financial partners with Gemini Trust Co. to offer the opportunity for its self-directed retirement account clients to invest in cryptocurrency. IRA Financial represents on its website that “Our Trust company’s focus on compliance and security is based on three principles: State regulated, Industry-leading technology, and FDIC protection of cash up to $250,000 through Capital One.” The company goes on the admit that it “must meet the capitalization, compliance, anti-money laundering, consumer protection, and cybersecurity requirements set forth by the South Dakota Division of Banking, and protect the interests of our customers first and foremost.” In specifically representing their stringent “Infrastructure Security”, IRA Financial Trust represents that:

  • We leverage the content-security policy (CSP) and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) features found in modern browsers.
  • We partner with enterprise vendors to mitigate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Stoltmann Law Offices continue to investigate broker Timothy Tilton Ayre of Massachusetts, who has been charged by FINRA with the unlawful distribution of unregistered cryptocurrency securities and fraud.  The FINRA complaint alleges that Ayre bought the rights to HempCoin in 2015.  He repackaged it as a security backed by his own company Rocky Mountain Ayre, Inc. (RMTN).  Calling it “the first minable coin backed by marketable securities”,  Ayres sold HempCoin telling investors that each coin was equivalent to 0.10 shares of RMTN common stock. After selling more than 80 million HempCoin securities, FINRA charged Ayre with the unlawful distribution of an unregistered security because HempCoin was never registered and no exemption applied.  FINRA also alleges Ayre defrauded investors in RMTN by making materially false statements and omissions regarding RMTN and its financial statements, along with the unlawful distribution of HempCoin and failing to disclose his creation of it.

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