Financial authorities in the state of Texas have filed a cease and desist letter against a cryptocurrency scam that is using popular advertising platform Craigslist to propagate itself.
According to an official statement published on Wednesday, the action was taken as part of a sweeping investigation of the crypto industry that was started back in June by the Enforcement Division of the State Securities Board and is expected to run till the end of the year.
In the letter, authorities reported that the scam was promising investors up to 900 percent returns on their investment, luring them with tales of how they could turn $2,000 into $20,000 within just a matter of weeks by trading in crypto-assets and other foreign currencies.
Per the letter, the firm that is sponsoring this scam is a Bitcoin and Forex trading outfit based out of New York, which claims to be a licensed broker-dealer and has sufficient insurance to cover investments and guarantee returns.
However, upon investigation with the local Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), it was discovered that these statements were false, as authorities found that there was no record of the firm even applying for the license in the local CFTCs database. In addition to that, they found it suspicious that while the company claimed to be insured and have enough capital, they had failed to supply any valuable information concerning their insurance policy.
So far, the cease and desist letter is the latest testament to the competence and effectiveness of the investigation by the State Securities Board. The investigation started back in 2017, and while things slowed a bit in 2018, it was found that the incidence of crypto scams seems to be moving in tandem with the prices of crypto assets themselves.
With Bitcoin trading at much higher levels than it was in 2018 right now, it is no surprise that the State regulator is on high alert.
So far, the agency has filed up to 24 administrative orders involving 62 individuals and businesses. However, perhaps the most popular would have to be one filed in May 2018.
At the time, the cease-and-desist letter filed by the regulator was against Wind Wide Coin, a crypto company based in Houston that was found to have made fake profiles using the names and likenesses of some popular figures such as actress Jennifer Aniston, Prince Charles, and Matti Vanhanen, the former Prime Minister of Finland.
In the order, the State financial regulator accused the firm and three other individuals of falsely claiming to be licensed in the state, selling unregistered securities, withholding information, and misleading investors with fraudulent claims.
Speaking in an Email with news medium CoinDesk at the time, Joseph Rotunda, Director of Enforcement at the agency, said that Wind Wide Coin was “illegally, deceptively and fraudulently offering investments.”
Amongst the claims made by the company, they allegedly promised that income from the investment scheme was “100 percent sure,” and that since it’s a “no-risk” scheme, investors won’t lose money for sure. “Today’s action is a reminder that, step by step and case by case, we’ve been uncovering a virtual playbook of tactics employed by promoters of illegal and fraudulent cryptocurrency investment programs,” Rotunda added.