The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has frozen the assets of Digital Licensing Inc., a crypto mining firm allegedly involved in fraud.
In an emergency move announced Thursday, the SEC also obtained a restraining order against the Utah-based company, which does business as DEBT Box.
The regulator said it also took action against Digital Licensing’s four principals—Jason Anderson, his brother Jacob Anderson, Schad Brannon, and Roydon Nelson—and 13 other defendants, alleging that their “fraudulent scheme” had raised $50 million and unspecified amounts of Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“We allege that DEBT Box and its principals lied to investors about virtually every material aspect of their unregistered offering of securities, including by falsely stating that they were engaged in crypto asset mining,” Tracy S. Combs, Director of the SEC’s Salt Lake Regional Office Tracy S. Combs said.
The complaint alleged that the defendants “misappropriated” the funds raised “buying luxury vehicles and homes, taking lavish vacations, and showering themselves and their friends with cash.”
The SEC further alleged that DEBT Box told investors via “hundreds of online videos and social media posts” and at events that its crypto mining activity would generate “exorbitant gains for investors”—but the node licenses were a “sham.”
The SEC charged a total of 18 defendants for selling unregistered securities offerings.
It also charged DEBT Box, Jason Anderson, Jacob Anderson, Brannon, Nelson, Franklin, Western Oil, and Bowen with violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
And it hit Jason Anderson, Jacob Anderson, Brannon, Nelson, Bowen, Mark Schuler, Benjamin Daniels, Joseph Martinez, Travis Flaherty, Brendon Stangis, Matthew Fritzsche, B & B Investment Group, LLC, and iX Global, LLC with acting as unregistered brokers.
The SEC seeks permanent injunctive relief, the return of alleged ill-gotten gains, and civil penalties, according to its statement.