The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Tuesday that it has charged and reached agreements with two companies and their owners that operate in the cryptocurrency space.
The securities regulator alleged that Crypto Asset Management LP (CAM) and its principal, Timothy Enneking, had marketed itself under false pretenses, alleging that Enneking raised more than $3 million in late 2017 and claimed that the company was “the first regulated crypto asset fund in the United States.”
According to the SEC statement, Enneking and the company agreed to the SEC’s cease-and-desist order and will pay a penalty of $200,000, without admitting or denying the agency’s findings. Enneking didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Although this isn’t the first time the SEC has issued cease-and-desist letters to companies operating in the crypto space, it is the first that found fault with registration statements made by a cryptocurrency investment company.
Separately, the SEC accused TokenLot LLC and its owners, Lenny Kugel, and Eli L. Lewitt, of acting as unregistered broker-dealers. The agency said that TokenLot – described as a kind of “ICO Superstore” – “received orders from more than 6,100 retail investors and handled more than 200 different digital tokens, which the SEC found included securities.”
As in the case of CAM, Kugel, Lewitt and TokenLot didn’t agree to or deny the SEC’s findings, but agreed to pay $471,000 in disgorgement plus $7,929 in interest.
Lewitt and Kugel will also pay $45,000 each in penalties and “agreed to industry and penny stock bars and an investment company prohibition with the right to reapply after three years.”
“The penalties in this case reflect the prompt cooperation and remedial actions by TokenLot, Kugel, and Lewitt,” Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement.
Notably, their deal with the SEC also states that they will find “an independent third party to destroy TokenLot’s remaining inventory of digital assets.” How this process will play out is unclear at this time.
Both the SEC orders referenced its 2017 DAO report, which paved the way for a series of SEC enforcement actions against alleged fraudsters in the ICO ecosystem. At the time, the agency said that securities law in the U.S. could apply to token sales.
Since then, senior officials at the SEC, including its chairman Jay Clayton, have made ICOs a significant priority for the agency.