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Eight celebrities, including actor Lindsay Lohan, influencer Jake Paul and rapper Soulja Bhai, have been charged by federal regulators with illegally using two cryptocurrencies and failing to disclose what they were paid.
Both Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT) cryptocurrencies were sold by crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun. Imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission On Wednesday.
Sun and the three companies he owns – Tron Foundation Ltd, Bittorrent Foundation Ltd and Rainberry Inc. – Manipulation of the secondary market through unregistered offering and sale of crypto asset securities and “wash trading”, involving quick purchases. And by selling cryptocurrencies they appear to be actively traded.
The SEC says Sun and the companies paid celebrities with large social media followings to promote TRX and BTT and not publicly disclose their compensation.
“This case demonstrates once again the risk high-risk investors face when selling crypto asset securities without proper disclosure,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement.
Other Celebrities Charged in the Project:
- Austin Mahone
- Michelle Mason (aka Kendra Lust)
- Miles Parks McCollum (known as Lil Yachty)
- Shafer Smith (aka Ne-Yo)
- Aliaune Thiam – Akon mp3 youtube com download click to save
Each of the eight was charged with illegally obtaining one or both of the bonds.
Six celebrities — in addition to Soulja Boy (whose legal name is DeAndre Cortez Way) and Mahon — agreed to pay a total of more than $400,000 to settle the charges without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings.
NPR reached out to each of the celebrities’ representatives with a request for comment, but did not immediately hear back from seven of the eight. A rep for Jack Paul declined to comment.
Crypto’s meteoric rise has led to celebrities plugging various digital currencies, but regulators’ interest in rooting out illegal behavior in the crypto market has landed many of those stars in legal trouble.
In October, the SEC seized Kim Kardashian’s use of her Instagram account to promote cryptocurrency without disclosing what she was paid.