SEC Halts Alleged Initial Coin Offering Scam
“This is the first time the Commission has sought the appointment of a receiver in connection with an ICO fraud. We will use all of our tools and remedies to protect investors from those who engage in fraudulent conduct in the emerging digital securities marketplace,” said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. Shamoil T. Shipchandler, Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office, said,
“Attempting to conceal what we allege to be fraudulent securities offerings under the veneer of technological terms like ‘ICO’ or ‘cryptocurrency’ will not escape the Commission’s oversight or its efforts to protect investors.”
The court approved an emergency asset freeze over AriseBank, Rice, and Ford and appointed a receiver over AriseBank, including over its digital assets. The SEC intervened to protect the digital assets before they could be dissipated, enabling the receiver to immediately secure various cryptocurrencies held by AriseBank including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitshares, Dogecoin, and BitUSD. AriseCoin’s public sale began around Dec. 26, 2017, and was originally scheduled to conclude on Jan. 27, 2018, with distribution to investors on Feb. 10, 2018. The SEC seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties, and bars against Rice and Ford to prohibit them from serving as officers or directors of a public company or offering digital securities again in the future.