The US Department of Justice said on Wednesday that it had filed charges against the owner of My Big Coin Pay, the corporate parent of the cryptocurrency payment platform and blockchain wallet MyBigCoin.com.
Founded in December 2013, My Big Coin is a virtual currency wallet and platform that allegedly allows merchants and consumers to process transactions with its own digital tokens.
The founder and principal operator of the Nevada-based company, Randall Crater, was arrested in Florida after being charged with running an elaborate cryptocurrency scam that defrauded at least 28 investors out of six millions of dollars. The enforcement action described My Big Coin as a classic Ponzi scam.
Crater was one of three separate cryptocurrency operators the CFTC charged last year with fraud and misappropriation, alleging that they also had broken other commodity trading rules. The suspects were charged as part of an extensive investigation into different cryptocurrency investment schemes.
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My Big Coin challenges CFTC’s authority
In a criminal complaint filed in Massachusetts district court, the CFTC describes how My Big Coin sold digital tokens, known as ‘MBC,’ as part of a purported ICO that allows investors to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, including travel, entertainment, jewelry purchases and much more across the world.
The agency alleged that the MBC website made false statements to prospective investors, as well as misrepresenting that the token was backed by gold, partnered with MasterCard, when in fact it was only backed by promotional prose.
The fraudsters also represented the MBC token to investors as being used to “to purchase a home, antiques, fine art, jewelry, luxury goods, furniture, interior decorating and other home improvement services, travel, and entertainment.”
However, the CFTC’s authority has been challenged by the defendants as My Big Coin lawyers said the enforcement action had it all wrong and the watchdog does not have jurisdiction because the token is not a commodity.
The case could not move forward until the CFTC’s jurisdiction has been established and a federal court ruled that it had the standing to bring a fraud lawsuit against My Big Coin Pay.