The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed fraud charges against supposed cryptocurrency firm Longfin Corp. and its CEO Venkata S. Meenavalli, according to a press release on June 5.
Longfin saw a massive jump in its share price in 2017 when it claimed that it had redirected its business model toward blockchain technology.
The associate director of the Division of Enforcement, Anita B. Bandy, summarized the allegations as such:
“In our complaint against Longfin and Meenavalli and our amended complaint against Altahawi, we allege a multi-pronged fraud involving fake revenue, misrepresentations to the SEC, and false statements to Nasdaq.”
The SEC filed its complaint in the federal district court of Manhattan, New York claiming that Longfin fabricated 90% of its revenue and sold over 400,000 shares of Longfin, that it did not have the funds to back, in a scheme to secure its spot on the Nasdaq.
The complaint also reportedly states that the SEC granted Longfin’s Regulation A+ offering based on the supposition that the company was principally managed and run out of the U.S., when in actuality the company’s operations, assets and management were all offshore.
Consultant Andy Altahawi stands accused in the SEC complaint of reporting the fraudulent number of qualifying shareholders and shares sold in Longfin’s public offering to Nasdaq. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey also announced on June 5 that it is pursuing criminal charges against CEO Meenavalli.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the SEC previously charged Longfin and CEO Meenavalli with securities fraud and froze over $27 million in Longfin trading profits in April 2018.
The SEC then accused Meenavalli of insider trading in the amount of more than two million unregistered, restricted shares to consultant Amro Altahawi, as well as five-figure quantities of restricted shares to individuals Dorababu Penumarthi and Suresh Tammineedi.
The commission alleged that the defendants had fraudulently boosted their stock price by releasing a misleading statement about acquiring an alleged crypto business, and quickly sold their shares at the pumped-up price. The SEC reportedly pursued penalties including disgorgement via Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, pertaining to ill-gotten profits.
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