The Commodities Trading Futures Commission (CFTC) is hitting a South African Bitcoin (BTC) trading and networking firm with a ban and a $1.7 billion penalty for defrauding investors.
In a new press release, the CFTC announces a judge has ruled that Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited (MTI) must pay over a billion dollars to compensate the victims of its fraud scheme involving foreign currency transactions.
“The order stems from a CFTC complaint filed on June 30, 2022, and requires MTI to pay more than $1.7 billion in restitution to defrauded victims. The order also permanently enjoins MTI from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), as charged, and imposes permanent trading bans in any CFTC-regulated markets as well as a registration ban against MTI.”
The CFTC also highlights a default judgment issued against MTI founder and CEO Cornelius Johannes Steynberg in April.
The court found that from about May 2018 to March 2021, Steynberg and his business “engaged in an international fraudulent multilevel marketing scheme to solicit Bitcoin from people for participation in an unregistered commodity pool operated by MTI.”
The CFTC says that Steynberg collected at least 29,421 BTC worth over $1.7 billion while conducting the scheme. For his crimes, Steynberg must pay more than $1.7 billion in civil monetary penalty, the highest in any CTFC case.
Says CFTC’s Director of Enforcement, Ian McGinley,
“The settlement with MTI and default judgment against Steynberg represents the latest stage in our battle against fraudsters who victimized over 23,000 individuals from the US.
Here, the fraudsters made the most modern of promises, claiming their ‘Advanced Intelligence Software with Bitcoin as the base currency’ would create untold wealth for investors, but were actually committing a classic form of fraud, a multilevel marketing scam.
Whether a scam involves fictitious electronic trading ‘bots’ or Bitcoins, as this action involving a South African entity shows, we will pursue the scam artists wherever they may be.”Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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