Travis J. Iles, Commissioner of the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB), has announced a series of enforcement actions against fifteen fraudulent online investment scammers.
The first emergency cease and desist order names ten online investment platforms and links one individual – James Blundell – to the scheme to broadly promote fraudulent investments. Blundell, purportedly a resident of Seabrook, Texas, is accused of using numerous social media accounts to recruit victims.
According to the first order, Blundell is using his broad social media presence to tout his expertise in the cryptocurrency markets, as well as his dealings in binary options and forex trading. Blundell is allegedly bolstering his expertise by publishing an image of a trading certificate that purports to be a binary options trading license issued by Texas City, Texas. Although this image may add credibility, unbeknownst to investors, the order finds the license is actually a forgery.
The ten online investment promoters named in the first order include Proactive Expert Trading, Reliable Miners, BitcoinFX Options, Sure Trade Earnings, CryptoTradeFXWay, Proactive ExpertTrade, ReliableFX Internal Trade, MaxFX Internal Trade, AntPoolTop Mining, and ExpertTrades247.
The second emergency action names three online platforms – Binary Trade Forex, FX Trades, and IQTrade – and accuses them of falsely purporting to operate from Valentine, Texas. These three online platforms are allegedly recruiting investors by illegally promoting investments in forex, binary options and cryptocurrency pay lucrative rates of return. The order alleges they are fraudulently claiming these investments are guaranteed and using fake testimonials add credibility to their schemes.
The third order names GenuisPlanFxPro, a cryptocurrency, binary option, and forex investment platform falsely claiming it operates from Austin, Texas – just several miles from the agency’s offices. It alleges GenuisPlanFxPro is also falsely claiming its investment is regulated as e-gaming and licensed and regulated by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
“This series of actions clearly demonstrates the risk of dealing with trendy online investment platforms. Investors can’t afford to take everything at face value when transacting over the internet. They need to thoroughly investigate before they invest– because on the internet, anyone can fake a trading license, publish phony testimonials or falsely claim to be regulated by an offshore agency,” Commissioner Iles said.
The series of enforcement actions also highlights a key tactic of fraudulent investment platforms – using the internet and social media to broadly recruit new victims into the schemes.
“Bad actors know how to use social media and internet websites to create the pretense of legitimate operations. They can also use this technology to quickly reach large numbers of potential victims,” Enforcement Director Joe Rotunda said.
“Their websites often go dark, social media often goes dormant and fraudsters often disappear. In many cases, the money is gone,” he added.