The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has halted activity of another alleged cryptocurrency-related scam stealing millions of dollars from investors.
According to a SEC’s announcement on June 19, the authority has been granted a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against two Pennsylvania-based brothers allegedly running three crypto scam schemes. According to the SEC, Sean Hvizdzak and Shane Hvizdzak lied about their crypto fund performance by fabricating financial statements, instead redirecting investor funds to their own accounts with banks as well as crypto exchanges.
As ruled by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Hvizdzaks, Hvizdzak Capital Management, LLC, High Street Capital, LLC, and High Street Capital Partners, LLC, are temporarily halted from operation for violating the anti fraud provisions of federal securities laws.
Hvizdzaks collected over $30 million in less than one year
The ruling comes immediately after the SEC filed an emergency action with the court on June 16. According to the SEC’s complaint, the Hvizdzak brothers have been involved in crypto-related fraudulent activity since at least July 2019 and continuing until May 2020. After establishing a fund to invest “in a wide variety of cryptocurrency investments,” in March 2019, Hvizdzaks purportedly collected $31 million on one of the managed accounts.
According to the complaint, Hvizdzaks moved about $26 million from the fund’s account to personal accounts at banks as well as popular crypto exchanges like Binance, Winklevoss twins-founded Gemini, and Bittrex. In the filing, the SEC emphasized that it’s hard to trace stolen funds once they are converted into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).
The securities regulator wrote:
“Once this fiat currency, in this case U.S. dollars, is exchanged for a digital asset, Defendants can transfer the digital assets anywhere in the world with no bank and no government forms.”
According to the SEC, the court will consider the further asset freeze and the issuance of a preliminary injunction at a hearing on June 30, 2020.
As a major global financial regulator, the SEC is actively fighting fraudulent activity in the crypto industry. In March 2020, the authority froze assets of an alleged crypto scam backed by a former state senator.