The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday charged defunct bitcoin securities exchange BitFunder and its principle Jon E. Montroll with fraud, saying they operated unregistered online securities exchange and concealed critical information while tapping the market for millions of dollars. .
In a lawsuit filed in USA federal court in Manhattan, the SEC said the owner of bitcoin venue, aka Ukyo, failed to disclose a cyberattack on BitFunder's system that resulted in the theft of more than 6,000 bitcoins. On top of that, the agency also charged the operator - Montroll - with making false and misleading statements in connection with an unregistered offering of securities. Platforms that engage in the activity of a national securities exchange, regardless of whether that activity involves digital assets, tokens, or coins, must register with the SEC or operate pursuant to an exemption.
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The agency alleges Montroll operated BitFunder as an unregistered online securities exchange and defrauded exchange users by misappropriating their Bitcoin, and also for failing to disclose a cyberattack on BitFunder's system that resulted in the theft of more than 6,000 Bitcoin.
The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions and unspecified penalties against Montroll and BitFunder.
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Lara S. Mehraban, Associate Regional Director of the SEC's New York Regional Office, added that Montroll defrauded users of the exchange by "misappropriating" Bitcoins and not revealing a cyberattack that resulted in Bitcoin theft. Ms.Waxman and Ms. Szczepanik also are members of the SEC's Distributed Ledger Working Group and the Enforcement Division's Cyber Unit. "We will continue to focus on these types of platforms to protect investors and ensure compliance with the securities laws", said Marc Berger, Director of the SEC's New York Regional Office.
"We will continue to vigorously police conduct involving distributed ledger technology and ensure that bad actors who commit fraud in this space are held accountable."The case is being supervised by Lara Mehraban.
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"As alleged, the defendant repeatedly lied during sworn testimony and misled SEC staff to avoid taking personal responsibility for the loss of thousands of his customers' bitcoins", said Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, on Wednesday. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.