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US SEC Cyber Unit files first charges against ICO scam
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has halted an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fraud, being conducted by a company, PlexCorps.
In its official release, the SEC said that it has filed charges against Dominic Lacroix, and his company, PlexCorps, who were involved in the marketing and selling of securities called PlexCoin. The perpetrators claimed that investments in PlexCoin would yield a 1,354 percent profit in less than 29 days. The SEC also charged Lacroix's partner, Sabrina Paradis-Royer, in connection with the scheme.
The SEC said that PlexCoin ICO scam raised up to $15 million from thousands of investors since August.
Based on its filing, the agency obtained an emergency court order to freeze the assets of PlexCorps, Lacroix, and Paradis-Royer. Lacroix, Paradis-Royer and PlexCorps have been charged with violating the anti-fraud provisions, and Lacroix and PlexCorps with violating the registration provision, of the U.S. federal securities laws.
The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus interest and penalties. For Lacroix, the SEC also seeks an officer-and-director bar and a bar from offering digital securities against Lacroix and Paradis-Royer.
This marks the first charges filed by the SEC's new Cyber Unit, which was created in September with particular focus on misconduct involving distributed ledger technology (DLT) and ICOs, the spread of false information through electronic and social media, hacking and threats to trading platforms.
"This first Cyber Unit case hits all of the characteristics of a full-fledged cyber scam and is exactly the kind of misconduct the unit will be pursuing," said Robert Cohen, Chief of the Cyber Unit. "We acted quickly to protect retail investors from this initial coin offering's false promises."