The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed a suit against two defendants for the allegedly fraudulent solicitation of Bitcoin (BTC), according to an official press release published on Friday, September 28.
The CFTC’s complaint — filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas — charges the two defendants with running two fraudulent businesses and misleading the public to invest in leveraged or margined foreign currency contracts, such as forex, binary options, and diamonds.
The first defendant, who goes by the name Morgan Hunt, is reportedly from Arlington, Texas, and owns the company Diamonds Trading Investment House. The second defendant, Kim Hecroft, purportedly of Baltimore, Maryland, reportedly ran First Options Trading.
According to the press release, Hunt and Hecroft have defrauded at least two investors starting in January 2017. The defendants had allegedly been offering to invest in trading for the benefits of their clients via email and Facebook.
Among the other accusations, the CFTC mentioned that the defendants were impersonating a CFTC investigator, as well as using forged official documents to pose as the CFTC’s General Counsel with CFTC’s official Seal as a part of the scam. While the CFTC is not actually involved in any activity involving tax collection, the fraudsters reportedly impersonated CFTC officials in order to require fake tax payments on cryptocurrency accounts.
In a complaint to the court, the CFTC seeks restitution for the defrauded investors, disgorgement of illegal profits, civil monetary penalties, and permanent trading and registration bans, as well as a permanent ban from further violations of CFTC regulations and the Commodity Exchange Act.
Earlier this week, a U.S. federal district court ruled that an alleged fraudulent crypto token from the firm “My Big Coin Pay” was a commodity, bringing the case under CFTC regulations.
Yesterday, another U.S. financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), filed charges against international securities dealer 1pool for the alleged offering of Bitcoin-funded security-based swaps.