As the SEC continues to crack down on predatory crypto operations, more celebs, including Ne-Yo and Lil Yachty, are facing charges.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced several charges filed against eight celebrities. In addition to artists Yachty and Ne-Yo, Jake Paul, Lindsay Lohan, Soulja Boy, singers Austin Mahone and Akon, and porn actress Kendra Lust. The agency claims they all illegally boosted Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT) cryptocurrencies. Neither of these famous folks disclosed the fact that they’d been compensated for promoting the crypto on their social media platforms. Each of them, except Soulja and Mahone, has agreed to settlements with the SEC.
The charges are just a drop in the bucket for the broader investigation, which targets crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun, founder of TRON Foundation, BitTorrent, and Rainberry Inc. Per Fortune, Sun allegedly sold unregistered securities. He is also being accused of manipulating markets through a process known as “wash trading.” This practice fraudulently boosts an asset’s trading volume. Sun has been distributing billions of crypto since August 2017 through the scheme.
In the past year, several celebrities have been the target of crypto crackdowns. In October, Kim Kardashian was famously charged with receiving $250,000 to promote EMAX. Like Sun, other founders and their firms have hidden payments made to influencers in order to tout their companies. These stars then find themselves in hot water for misleading their supporters into thinking they had a genuine interest in these cryptos rather than just serving as mouthpieces to get more people to invest.