The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York has announced that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment against three Florida men who co-founded the cryptocurrency company Centra Tech, Inc. The indictment alleges they defrauded investors of $25 million through conspiracy and securities and wire fraud, and that they lied to investors prior to the Initial Coin Offering.
According to the announcement, the three co-founders allegedly lured investors into buying unregistered securities by falsely advertising that they had hired two executives with superior qualifications and credentials who, by stating they had licensing agreements with major credit card companies, including Mastercard and Visa, and that the company had licenses in 38 states. The announcement also states that the CEO was fictitious.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the men sought to “capitalize on investor interest in the burgeoning cryptocurrency market.”
Following the arrest of the three men, the FBI seized 91,000 units of Ether, which was culled from investors who participated in the Initial Coin Offering. Although the Ether was worth $25 million at the time of the Initial Coin Offering, it is reported to be worth $60 million now.