The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that John Barksdale and JonAtina (Tina) Barksdale, founders of a cryptocurrency fraud scheme, will each pay $23 million in fines following a court ruling in the Southern District of New York. March 15.
Last March, the SEC filed a lawsuit against the Barksdale siblings, accusing them of misleading investors with false cryptocurrency claims and engaging in cryptocurrency fraud.
According to the SEC disclosure, Barksdales launched a digital currency called OrmeusCoin, which has defrauded thousands of retail investors out of more than $124 million.
The SEC’s order states that John Barksdale and JonAtina Barksdale made false statements about their companies’ revenues and business operations, including providing investors with falsified audit reports. In addition, the siblings also used funds raised from investors to pay for their personal expenses, including luxury cars and private jets.
Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s enforcement director, emphasized the importance of holding individuals accountable for fraudulent schemes, saying, “Barksdales, which exploited the promise of innovation to prey on investor optimism, will now pay dearly for their greed and misconduct.”
The fine against Barksdales is one of the largest ever imposed by the SEC in a cryptocurrency-related case. The SEC has been cracking down on fraudulent schemes involving digital assets, warning investors to be cautious and conduct thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.