Texas Regulators Crack Down on Site Offering Returns Related to Cryptocurrency and Medical Marijuana
A bogus startup offering 8% weekly returns on cryptocurrency and medical marijuana was hit by the Texas State Securities Board yesterday, in another move by against crypto-related financial crimes by U.S. regulators.
The Board filed a cease-and-desist order (CDO) against Mark Moncher for allegedly trying to sell unregistered securities through his “Financial Freedom Club,” also called “Millionaire Mentor University,” which Moncher claims can give investors financial independence in as little as 30-days. Despite the CDO, www.millionairementoruniversity.com is still online as of Friday afternoon.
In the order, Texas regulators cite wording from the website that claims its investors are getting an 8% return on their money weekly. The money, says the site, would be used to buy cryptocurrency, which in turn would be loaned to a medical marijuana operation in California.
“Never work hard again,” the site advertises.
Millionaire Mentor University
Investors were told that in exchange for a $2,000 initial investment, they would receive an “invoice of a product matching your initial payment for your protection,” to hide the true use of the funds, according to the CDO. It turns out that that product was meant to be a gold watch that investors would never actually receive, further proof that this operation was trying to blatantly skirt the law.
The Board also accuse Moncher of hiding from investors the fact he was sentenced to 57 months in prison in 2010 by a federal court in Florida for a mortgage fraud scheme and committing mail and wire fraud.
Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles explains what Moncher and his coconspirator Frank Dalotto are doing as follows:
Moncher and his company are offering for sale investments in a cryptocurrency trading program together with 911MoneyStore Inc., which has two offices listed in New York state. Frank Dalotto is the principal of 911MoneyStore… Dalotto is representing that he is working with ‘a trader with excellent results,’ but he is not disclosing the name of the trader or the strategy used to generate 8% weekly returns. The order alleges that Dalotto is telling potential investors that to avoid securities laws, he and 911MoneyStore ‘really don’t want to portray this as an investment in crypto’ and will refer to the profit payments as a ‘commission.’
The Texas State Securities Board is one of the more active state regulating agencies. Under Iles, it has been scooping up unscrupulous players in the digital currency market for several months. It ordered the closure of DavorCoin in February on suspicions it was operating a scam, and ordered it to stop selling unregistered securities while marketing its company with statements that are “materially misleading or otherwise likely to deceive the public.”
The Board also took down LeadInvest that month, contending that the startup fabricated its management team and illegally solicited investors for a cryptocurrency mining operation and lending program.
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