The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been on a roll over the past few weeks to take down any crypto company or individual it thinks might be going against its agenda, and it’s now added one more victim to its roster.
The SEC Targets Paul Pierce
This time, the figure targeted by the SEC is former Celtics player and NBA hall of famer Paul Pierce. The basketball player took part in a promotion of a new digital currency called Ethereum Max. By issuing public statements about the asset, the SEC alleges that Pierce violated present securities laws. He will now be forced to part with a $1.4 million fee as part of a settlement with the agency.
While discussing the currency wasn’t so much the problem, the SEC says that Paul failed to disclose to investors that he’d been paid a hefty sum to make such statements. The agency also says he made several false and misleading promotional comments about the currency. The SEC mentioned:
The SEC’s order finds that Pierce failed to disclose that he was paid more than $244,000 worth of EMAX tokens to promote the tokens on Twitter. The SEC’s order also finds that Pierce tweeted misleading statements related to EMAX, including tweeting a screenshot of an account showing large holdings and profits without disclosing that his own personal holdings were in fact much lower than those in the screenshot. In addition, one of Pierce’s tweets contained a link to the Ethereum Max website, which provided instructions for potential investors to purchase EMAX tokens.
One of the tweets issued by Paul was directed at sports television network ESPN, a former employer. The message read as follows:
I don’t need you. I got [Ethereum Max]. I made more money with this crypto in the past month than I did with y’all in a year. TRUTH shall set you free. My own boss EthereumMax.org. Check it out for yourself.
In response to this, the agency said:
Pierce was at least negligent in not knowing that this statement was materially misleading… This case is yet another reminder to celebrities [that] the law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are getting paid to promote investment in securities, and you can’t lie to investors when you tout a security. When celebrities endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, investors should be careful to research if the investments are right for them, and they should know why celebrities are making those endorsements.
Ethereum Max Doesn’t Have a Great Run Behind It
This is not the first time Ethereum Max has been in the news.
Not long ago, reality star Kim Kardashian was targeted by the SEC for promoting the currency to her social media followers without telling them she had been paid to do so.