American watchdog sues scam project for falsely claiming its approval
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) obtained an emergency court order halting a planned ICO, which backers falsely claimed was approved by the SEC. The order also halts ongoing pre-ICO sales by the Blockvest LLC and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III.
An SEC complaint alleges that Blockvest falsely claimed its ICO and its affiliates received regulatory approval from various agencies, including the SEC. The complaint also alleges Ringgold promoted the ICO with a fake agency he created called the “Blockchain Exchange Commission,” using a graphic similar to the SEC’s seal and the same address as regulator’s headquarters.
Blockvest and Ringgold also allegedly misrepresented Blockvest’s connections to a well-known accounting firm and continued their fraudulent conduct even after the National Futures Association (NFA) sent them a cease-and-desist letter to stop them from using its seal and from making false claims about their status with that organization.
“We allege that this ICO is using both the SEC seal and a made-up crypto regulatory authority to trick investors into believing the ICO was approved by regulators,” said Robert A. Cohen, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “The SEC does not endorse investment products and investors should be highly skeptical of any claims suggesting otherwise.”