Four former partners of the global financial services firm GSV Capital have been accused of defrauding investors in a series of fraudulent schemes involving tokens which promised to revolutionize the blockchain industry.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has brought charges against the four individuals for allegedly creating and selling unregistered securities and collecting more than $20 million in investor proceeds.
The charges stem from the company’s involvement in two high-profile “Metaverse” projects, BLMP and MetaBear, which raised funds from investors by selling tokens purportedly backed by blockchain technology.
The SEC charged the four individuals – Michael Laszlo, Ravi Kumar, Ryan Hauser, and Richard Stainsby – with defrauding investors by making false and misleading statements about the projects, including promising that the projects were backed by big-name corporate entities, that certain big-name investments had already been secured, and that they would achieve success without needing additional funding.
The SEC also charged Kumar and Laszlo with misappropriating investor proceeds, by using the money for their own personal expenses, including luxury goods, casinos trips, and extravagant meals.
The SEC’s complaint goes on to allege that the defendants misled investors about the business plans and timelines for the projects, misrepresented the technology behind them, and failed to disclose key conflicts of interest.
If found guilty, each of the four individuals faces a potential fine of up to $25 million and/or up to twenty years in prison. The SEC is also seeking a permanent injunction and the return of all investor proceeds.