The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an emergency court order halting a planned initial coin offering (ICO), which backers falsely claimed was approved by the SEC. The order also halts ongoing pre-ICO sales by the company, Blockvest and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III.
An SEC complaint alleges that Blockvest falsely claimed its ICO and its affiliates received regulatory approval from various agencies, including the SEC. According to the SEC’s complaint, Blockvest and Ringgold, who also goes by the name Rasool Abdul Rahim El, were using the SEC seal without permission, a violation of federal law, and falsely claiming their crypto fund was “licensed and regulated.” The complaint also alleges Ringgold promoted the ICO with a fake agency he created called the “Blockchain Exchange Commission,” using a graphic similar to the SEC’s seal and the same address as SEC headquarters.
Blockvest and Ringgold also allegedly misrepresented Blockvest’s connections to a well-known accounting firm, and continued their fraudulent conduct even after the National Futures Association (NFA) sent them a cease-and-desist letter to stop them from using the NFA’s seal and from making false claims about their status with that organization.
Gonzalo Curiel, a Judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of California, issued an order freezing defendants’ assets and other emergency relief. The order also temporarily prohibits Blockvest and Ringgold from violating the antifraud provisions and securities registration provisions. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18, 2018, to consider continuing the asset freeze and issuance of a preliminary injunction.