Texas Regulator Orders Another Crypto Scam To Stop Selling Fraudulent Securities
The Texas State Securities Board has issued an emergency cease and desist order on Feb. 26 to website Leadinvest.com, citing a failure to disclose information about its specialists and cryptocurrency mining activities, as well as fraudulently selling unlicensed securities and overall “[threatening] immediate and irreparable harm.”
Already in January of this year, the Texas State Securities Board has sent two other cease and desist notices to crypto-related organizations: one to alleged Ponzi-scheme Bitconnect for selling unlicensed securities, and another to “cryptocurrency bank” AriseBank for not actually being a bank, making this Feb. 26 notice the third order of this year.
This newest cease and desist order begins by detailing how all of LeadInvest’s staff photos are either stock images or images of other people that have no association with the company.
The website is still active but contains older numbers for cryptocurrency prices, like citing Bitcoin’s (BTC) “all time highs of $1000” in 2014 as the last price point under the “Cryptocurrency” section, although different parts of the site have more updated numbers.
The cease and desist letter adds that LeadInvest “agents” are told that they will receive a ten percent commission for all new clients that use their referral link, and that LeadInvest is violating securities laws by “recruiting individuals who are not registered with the Security Commissioner to act as its agents.”
LeadInvest’s website claims that since their founding in May 2010, then have moved their Bitcoin mining to Iceland due to the access to geothermal and hydroelectric energy. The cease and desist letter writes that LeadInvest intentionally does not disclose information about its mining rigs, as well as the risks associated with crypto mining.
Iceland actually has been experiencing a crypto boom of miners coming to the island for this access to both forms of alternative energy and the naturally colder climate.
According to data from LeadInvest’s website, more than 190,000 accounts have been created and more than $177 mln has been invested in their system. The Texas State Securities Board writes that LeadInvest has been deliberately not disclosing the use of the funds that investors have given.
The Board’s cease and desist letter ends by citing the “misleading and deceptive statements” made about the identities of people associated with LeadInvest and the statements on the website that promise that investors are adhering to laws and regulations, which Texas says they aren’t.
LeadInvest must cease all activities related to selling securities, acting as a securities dealer, fraudulently offering securities, and misleadingly offering securities, as per the cease and desist order.
LeadInvest had not responded to requests for comment by press time.