There are indications that the man behind the Plexcoin ICO would be jailed according to AMF, the financial agency with oversight functions in Quebec. Dominic Lacroix was on Friday sentenced to prison for a couple of months by a Canadian Superior court for contempt. Plexcorps was also fined $110,000. The two months jail term is the maximum prescribed by law for such offenses.
Early December, SEC charged Plexcorps for breach of law after the company generated $15 million from ICO. The suits were for promising investors an outrageous and unrealistic ROI. SEC Cyber Enforcement Unit which was recently set up to tackle ICO related fraud was responsible for the Plexcorps prosecution. Lacroix is now facing charges in the United States and Canada for ICO related offenses.
This week, SEC also moved against a California based company, Munchee Inc. which has been made to refund money raised from ICO. SEC announced that the company breached securities law acquiring assets which are proceeds from the sale of unregistered securities.
This is barely a week after the Cyber Enforcement Unit filed charges against Plexcorps. Munchee, whose ICO was advertised as having features of Yelp and Instagram was designed as a platform for restaurant reviews. Its ICO which generated $15 million was halted with an order by the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 11. The document read that MUN token was considered securities being investment contracts. The commission said that what constitutes securities is the economic realities underlying any transaction.
The commission said that there will be no sanctions or penalties against Munchee as the company stopped issuance of token to investors immediately SEC pointed out the violations. Stephanie Avakian, the SEC spokesperson said that funds were promptly returned to 40 investors under supervision of the commission.
Meanwhile, SEC chairman on Monday cast shadows on ICO by asking the public to be careful about putting money in cryptocurrency assets which he said might be contrary to federal securities law. Jay Clayton made the statement a few hours after the SEC stepped in to stop the Munchee ICO.
ICOs which are cryptocurrency based fundraising has grown in popularity but remains largely unregulated. The SEC operation clearly passed a message that the commission would intervene against any ICOs it considers its activities sale of securities if such crowd sales were not registered with the commission even if nuclear claims of fraud was established.
Mr. Clayton said that the public should be wary of offerings that are too good to be true, saying that when people are made to part with their money without due diligence that they should know that they would likely lose them. He said that in many cases, crowdsales are supposed to be subject to securities law that gives the permission to issuers after registration with SEC. He reiterated that exchanges trading in cryptocurrencies might be violating the securities law that should authorize such trade.
With the happenings this week, it is obvious that cryptocurrency regulations would be on the front burner in the first quarter of 2018. North America seems poised to take the lead.