The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged 11 individuals for creating a crypto pyramid and Ponzi scheme that raked in over $300 million from millions of global investors, including those from the United States.
In January 2020, Mikhail Sergeev, Sergey Maslakov, and "Jane Doe," also known as Lola Ferrari, launched the website Forsage.io, which allowed retail investors to carry out transactions using smart contracts that operated on the Binance, Tron, and Ethereum blockchains. Investors made profits by recruiting more people into this scheme, with Forsage using assets from new investors to pay older investors.
Despite facing cease-and-desist actions from the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines in September 2020 and the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance in March 2021, Forsage continued operations while denying the charges it was facing.
Individuals charged by the SEC include four founders of Forsage, three U.S.-based promoters engaged by the founders to promote Forsage, and multiple members from Crypto Crusaders, the biggest promotional group for Forsage that operated in the country.
Cryptocurrency RegulationThere is a push to tighten regulations and oversight of crypto markets in the United States. In June, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) unveiled a bill to regulate cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.
In May, the SEC announced the addition of 20 positions to the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit that is responsible for protecting crypto market investors.
In a report published on July 18, the FBI issued a warning to U.S. investors and financial institutions about cyber criminals potentially targeting them with fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes. The agency identified 244 victims of such schemes who have collectively lost $42.7 million.