In brief

  • The Texas State Securities Board has filed three cease and desist orders against 14 investment platforms.
  • The websites offered users investment plans ranging from $500 to $1,000,000.
  • Investors were promised up to 80% profit per hour on their money.

Texan securities commissioner Travis J. Iles has announced on Thursday a “series of sweeping actions” against 14 allegedly fraudulent cryptocurrency, forex and binary options investment platforms that operated in the state under false pretenses.

According to the first emergency cease and desist order, just one individual—James Blundell, purportedly a resident of Seabrook, Texas—is responsible for 10 alleged scam platforms that offered users to invest in cryptocurrency.

The commissioner noted that Blundell “is accused of using numerous social media accounts—including at least three Instagram accounts, seven Facebook websites and one Linkedin profile” to lure the victims to his schemes.

According to the Board’s order, some of these platforms offered victims to “purchase investments in a plan for $10,000 to $1,000,000 and receive a profit of 80% per hour for 24 hours.” The prices of more humble plans varied between $500 and $9,999 for promised hourly yields of 42% and 60%, respectively.

Apart from posing as a cryptocurrency, forex and options markets expert on his social media accounts, Blundell was allegedly using images of his binary options trading license issued by Texas City and a local driver’s license. Both of these documents are forgeries, according to Iles.

The second emergency action is aimed at another three platforms—Binary Trade Forex, FX Trades and IQTrade—that claimed to be operating from Valentine, Texas. Additionally, the platforms stated that they are regulated as “e-gaming” firms in the British Isles by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Company—which is untrue, according to the commissioner.

These websites also offered users several plans, ranging from $500 to $10,000 minimum, and promised that investors can earn between 30% and 120% of daily returns.

“Binary Trade Forex, FX Trades and IQTrade are actually regulated by the Securities Board when dealing in securities in or from Texas. The platforms are not licensed to sell securities in Texas, and they have not been registered in any capacity with the agency,” said the order.

Likewise, cryptocurrency, binary options and forex investment platform GenuisPlanFxPro also falsely claimed that it operates from Austin, Texas, and is licensed and regulated as “e-gaming” by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, added Iles.

“This series of actions clearly demonstrates the risk of dealing with trendy online investment platforms,” said Iles, adding, “Investors can’t afford to take everything at face value when transacting over the internet. They need to thoroughly investigate before they invest– because on the internet, anyone can fake a trading license, publish phony testimonials or falsely claim to be regulated by an offshore agency.”

As Decrypt reported, Jon Thompson, director of Volantis Escrow Platform LLC and Volantis Market Marking LLC, pleaded guilty to a multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency scam in early October. And that’s not even to mention the number of DeFi hacks in the last few weeks.