New York's attorney general has filed a civil lawsuit against the founder of bankrupt Celsius Network, Alex Mashinsky, alleging that he defrauded hundreds of thousands of investors out of billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
Attorney General Letitia James alleges that the former boss of the crypto lending platform repeatedly made false and misleading statements about Celsius’s safety to encourage investors to deposit billions of dollars in digital assets.
In addition, the suit says, as Celsius lost hundreds of millions of dollars of assets in risky investments, Mashinsky misrepresented and concealed his firm's deteriorating financial condition. Mashinsky also failed to register as a salesperson for Celsius and as a securities and commodities dealer.
Celsius filed for bankruptcy and suspended customer withdrawals in July, citing a $1.19 billion deficit on its balance sheet. Mashinsky quit as CEO in September.
James is seeking to ban Mashinsky from doing business in New York and require him to pay damages, restitution, and disgorgement.
Says James: "The law is clear that making false and unsubstantiated promises and misleading investors is illegal. Today, we are taking action on behalf of thousands of New Yorkers who were defrauded by Mr Mashinsky to recoup their losses."