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DJ Khaled, Floyd Mayweather charged with illegally promoting cryptocurrency
Music producer DJ Khaled and professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. are in hot water with the Securities Exchange Commission, which charged them both Thursday with failing to divulge payments for promoting fraudulent initial coin offerings.
The commission alleges that Khaled kept secret $50,000 in promotional payments from Centra Tech Inc., while Mayweather allegedly failed to disclose $300,000, including $100,000 from Centra Tech.
The commission referenced Khaled and Mayweather’s social media posts. Khaled called Centra Tech a “game changer,” and Mayweather told his followers to “Get yours before they sell out, I got mine…” all while failing to disclose payments they received.
“Social media influencers are often paid promoters, not investment professionals, and the securities they’re touting, regardless of whether they are issued using traditional certificates or on the blockchain, could be frauds,” said Steven Peikin, the enforcement division co-director for the SEC, according to the Verge.
Both celebrities agreed to pay back their earnings—with additional fines—for promoting the ICOs, but neither confirmed nor denied the commission’s charges.
Their promotions came after the SEC filed a civil action lawsuit against Centra and alleged that the ICO engaged in fraudulent activity. Centra’s founders currently face charges for selling the unregistered digital token CTR.
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Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.