The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced charges against two individuals and two businesses accused of conducting a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). According to the SEC complaint, one of the defendants, convicted felon Boaz Manor, used a disguise and alias to conceal his identity.
According to the SEC’s complaint, between August 2017 and September 2018, the defendants marketed and sold digital asset securities in a purported effort to develop technologies for hedge funds and other investors in digital assets. As alleged, Manor, a resident of Toronto, Canada, darkened his hair, grew a beard, and used aliases to hide his identity and conceal the fact that he had served a year in prison after pleading guilty to criminal charges arising from the collapse of a large Canadian hedge fund.
The complaint alleges that Manor presented his business partner and co-defendant Edith Pardo as the owner of CG Blockchain Inc and BCT Inc SEZC, the two businesses named in the complaint. Meanwhile, he represented himself as an employee, using the alias “Shaun MacDonald.” The defendants reportedly defrauded investors of more than $30 million in a scheme that involved false claims. Both Manor and Pardo have been charged with violations of securities laws.
The SEC is seeking the return of all ill-gotten gains, interest and penalties, and injunctive relief – including an order that would prevent either defendant from engaging in future securities offerings and barring them from serving as board directors or officers in other public companies.
SEC Market Abuse Unit Chief Joseph G. Sansone noted that the case is an example of why investors should always take time to learn about the people behind any investment opportunity:
“Learning about the identity and background of the individual or individuals behind a venture is one of the first things we tell investors to do before trusting anyone with their money. As alleged in our complaint, Manor’s brazen scheme to conceal his identity and criminal history deprived investors of essential information and allowed the defendants to take over $30 million from investors’ pockets.”