On August 12, 2019, the Federal Court of Brooklyn approved the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) application for a temporary restraining order, Reggie Middleton and its two entities Veritaseum, Inc. and Veritaseum, LLC (collectively referred to as Veritaseum) The assets were frozen.
Frozen assets include personal and project funds stored in traditional financial institutions such as Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as accounts on the cryptocurrency exchanges Gemini, Kraken, Coinbase, and 15 addresses on the Ethereum blockchain. At the same time, the Temporary Restriction Order requires Veritaseum not to destroy, tamper with or hide any textual material.
The SEC accused ReggieMiddleton and Veritaseum of illegally selling securities, violating the US Federal Securities Act registration and anti-fraud regulations. The SEC hopes the court will issue a permanent ban on Veritaseum and its founder, Reggie Middleton, and impose a high fine.
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According to the SEC, Reggie Middleton raised 69,000 Ethereum (valued at $14.8 million at the then ETH price) and sold 51 million VERI tokens through ICO in 2017 and 2018.
Reggie Middleton claims to be a “financial master” who induces retail investors to purchase their VERI tokens by spreading misleading information.
Reggie Middleton has publicly stated that he has partnered with airlines, "one of the largest stock exchanges in the Caribbean", and some large companies to sell VERI tokens with application scenarios. He also claims that $35 million worth of VERI tokens have been used for institutional services. But in fact, until June 2018, only 75 of the approximately 2 million tokens were "for research or other services."
In addition, ReggieMiddleton was suspected of manipulating the transaction. He raised the price of VERI by brushing and promising high returns. The price of VERI was pulled up by about 315% in one day. He has said that he will attract more investment by continuously publishing the volume or price of growth.
The SEC stated in the allegations that Reggie Middleton was suspected of misappropriating $520,000 in investor funds for personal consumption and transferring investor assets. After the SEC informed Reggie Middleton that enforcement action would be taken against it, the SEC found Reggie Middleton to transfer 10,000 ETH (approximately $2.3 million) in investor funds to “other digital asset addresses” and another 750 ETHs (about $172,500) was transferred to his personal account.
“After learning about Reggie Middleton’s transfer of assets, we quickly took action to prevent further loss of investor assets,” said SEC New York Regional Office Director Marc P. Berger. “Whether it’s digital currency or legal currency, we will take action to protect investor assets and prevent fraud and manipulation in the securities market.”
CoinmarketCap data shows that the price of VERI tokens is squatting within 24 hours, from $16 to below $4. The current price has rebounded slightly. The result at around 18:00 tonight is $6.07. Its market value is not destroyed. In this case, more than $22 million was evaporated within 24 hours.