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SEC charges siblings over $124m crypto scam

SEC charges siblings over $124m crypto scam

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a brother and sister with defrauding thousands of victims out of more than $124 million in a crypto scam.

According to the SEC complaint, from June 2017, John and JonAtina Barksdale have been offering and selling a digital token called 'Ormeus Coin' to investors on crypto trading platforms.

In addition, for about a year, the siblings, through a multi-level marketing business called Ormeus Global, offered and sold subscription packages that included Ormeus Coin and an investment in a crypto trading programme.#

To attract investors, John Barksdale held roadshows around the world while he and his sister led the production of social media posts, YouTube videos, press releases, and other promotional materials.

The complaint alleges that at the events, in the produced materials, and currently on Ormeus Coin’s website, the defendants falsely claimed that Ormeus Coin was supported by one of the largest crypto mining operations in the world, even though they abandoned their mining operations in 2019 after generating less than $3 million in revenue.

The complaint also alleges that the Barksdales manipulated Ormeus Coin’s price and misused millions of dollars of investor funds for personal expenses.

"We allege that the Barksdales acted as modern-day snake-oil salesmen, using social media, promotional websites, and in-person roadshows to mislead retail investors for their own personal benefit," says Melissa Hodgman, associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

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