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SEC Charges 'Snake-Oil Salesmen' Siblings With $124M Crypto Fraud

The "ground-breaking digital money system" Ormeus Coin was actually a scam, the SEC alleges.

2 min read
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Image: Shutterstock.

In brief

  • Siblings John and JonAntina (Tina) Barksdale ran a cryptocurrency project called Ormeus Coin.
  • But it was a scam, the SEC alleges, and conned investors out of $124 million.

The SEC today hit “modern-day snake-oil salesmen” siblings with charges for allegedly defrauding investors out of $124 million with a phoney cryptocurrency. 

John and JonAtina (Tina) Barksdale conned thousands of investors with their digital token Ormeus Coin, the SEC alleged in a statement Tuesday. The siblings offered Ormeus through crypto exchanges, the SEC said, and promoted it via YouTube and roadshows around the world. 

The coin’s website says that exchanges HitBTC, PancakeSwap, Uniswap and others offer the coin. Ormeus, according to its website, runs on Ethereum, and is purportedly powered by “green energy.” 

But the SEC alleged that the Barksdales gave false information about their project. “As alleged, to promote the offerings, John Barksdale held roadshows around the world while he and his sister, Tina, led the production of social media posts, YouTube videos, press releases, and other promotional materials,” said the statement.

“As alleged, in many of these investor communications, the defendants falsely stated that Ormeus Coin had a $250 million crypto mining operation and was producing $5.4 million to $8 million per month in mining revenues.”

The SEC added that the siblings abandoned their mining operations in 2019 after generating less than $3 million in revenue. 

“We allege that the Barksdales acted as modern-day snake-oil salesmen, using social media, promotional websites, and in-person roadshows to mislead retail investors for their own personal benefit,” Melissa Hodgman, associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said in the statement. 

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and charges the Barksdales with violating the federal securities laws. It seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement plus interest, and civil penalties.

The Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has also filed separate criminal charges against John Barksdale.

“As alleged, John Barksdale perpetrated a scheme to sell the cryptocurrency Ormeus Coin to investors around the world through a web of lies,” the office said in a statement

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