Steven Seagal has agreed to pay a $314,000 fine to the SEC after he was caught illegally promoting a crypto investment opportunity online. Mr. Seagal is best known for being an action movie star, who has appeared in films such as “above the Law.”
Details of the Lawsuit
Actor Steven Seagal’s wallet just took a hit, with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday announcing the former action star will pay a $314,000 settlement for “unlawfully touting” a cryptocurrency investment. According to the SEC, Steven Seagal was promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of the project’s tokens known as Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G). In return, he would actively promote the project on social media. This included creating a sense of FOMO amongst his followers.
The SEC found that Seagal asked his followers not to miss out on being part of B2G, which was apparently the “next generation of Bitcoin”. The company even published a press release titled “Zen Master Steven Seagal Has Become the Brand Ambassador of Bitcoiin2Gen.” They pointed out that in that press release; there was allegedly a quote from Seagal. He said that he “wholeheartedly” supported B2G. This press release came out in early 2018 when the price of Bitcoin was around $20,000 and there was a lot of buzz about crypto. It claimed that B2G was a better version of Bitcoin.
Federal Anti-Touting Law
According to the SEC, the actor did not comply with anti-touting laws. This is because he did not reveal the nature, amount, and scope of compensation that he received for promoting the project. According to the SEC, participants in the B2G ICO should have been made aware of the payments that the movie star was going to receive for touting the project. This way, they could decide whether he was biased in his promotion of the project. The Chief of the Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit at the SEC, Kristina Littman, said that celebrities were barred from using their star power to tout securities offerings without making full disclosures about the compensation that was due to them.
As part of the settlement agreement, the actor will pay $157,000 in disgorgement. This amount represents the amount of cash that he received from B2G. Additionally, he will pay a $157,000 penalty to the SEC. He has also been banned from promoting securities, which includes ICOs, for the next three years. As part of his settlement, Seagal does not have to admit or deny whether the SEC was wrong or right in their findings. Steven Seagal rose to fame in the 90s by appearing in action thrillers such as “Hard to Kill.” His representatives have not commented on the issue.
Celebrities and Crypto Projects
Crypto projects, especially scammy ones, desire the approval of celebrities to boost their reach. We recently reported on the case of Wissam Al Mana, who is suing Facebook for allowing the use of his image in crypto projects. In general, if you ever find a crypto project being promoted using the image of a celebrity, it is probably a scam.
Image Source: Shutterstock