SEC Obtains Emergency Order to Halt Scam ICO, ‘Blockchain Evangelist’ Charged

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The Securities and Exchange Commission announced yesterday that it has obtained a court order to halt a fraudulent ICO that has raised as much as $21 million from US and international investors. The firm behind the alleged scheme is Titanium Blockchain Instrastructure Services Inc, and the court approved an asset freeze and appointment of a receiver for the firm. 

Titanium President Michael Alan Stollery AKA Michael Stollaire is accused of lying about business relationships with the Federal Reserve, PayPal, Verizon, Boeing, The Walt Disney Company, and dozens of other firms and corporate clients.  The website contained multiple testimonials that the SEC deem to be fabricated, and self-described ‘blockchain evangelist’ Stollaire allegedly promoted the ICO through videos and social media, comparing the investment opportunities to that of early investment in “Intel or Google.”

Chief Robert A. Cohen of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit said: 

“This ICO was based on a social media marketing blitz that allegedly deceived investors with purely fictional claims of business prospects. Having filed multiple cases involving allegedly fraudulent ICOs, we again encourage investors to be especially cautious when considering these as investments.” 

The SEC complaint was filed in a federal district court in Los Angeles on May 22 and charges Stollery and Titanium with violating antifraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws. Another Stollaire company, EHI Internetwork and Ststems Management Inc., is also charged with violating antifraud provisions. The SEC is seeking the return of the funds that were raised with interest and additional penalties as well as a ban prohibiting Stollaire from participating in offering digital securities.

Following the temporary restraining order against Stollaire and his companies, all parties have consented to the entry of a preliminary injunction and for the Titanium firm to be put into receivership permanently.

The SEC has taken action against fraudulent ICOs recently by indicting ICO founders and launching a mock ICO website mirroring the hallmark traits of a scam project in order to inform and educate the public of the risks in ICO investment, along with an Investor Bulletin on ICOs. The SEC chairman Jay Clayton has also applauded the success of the fraudulent ICO crackdown called Operation Crypto Sweep which was launched in April by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) which has launched 70 investigations into scam ICOs in the past month.

Investors in the Titanium ICO who believe they may be a victim should contact the SEC through www.SEC.gov/tcr and reference SEC v. Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 18-4315 (C.D. Cal.).

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Conor is a cryptocurrency journalist and an ICO writing consultant at The Written Craft content service. He's an advocate of decentralized public control of finance, an off-grid enthusiast, and really fun at parties too. Follow him on Twitter @iWriteCrypto to hear him roar.