New York State Attorney General Letitia James has sued crypto investment platform Coinseed Inc for allegedly defrauding thousands of investors out of more than $1 million.
According to the Attorney General, Coinseed and its CEO Delgerdalai Davaasambu and former CFO Sukhbat Lkhagvadorj, traded unlawfully, defrauding investors between 2017 and May 2018:
“Rather than selling stock, Coinseed sold digital tokens to raise funds to support the growth of its business. Defendants represented to investors that money raised in the ICO would be used to ‘accelerate [Coinseed’s] growth and global expansion.’”
The allegations laid out in the court documents center around Coinseed’s violation of the Martin Act, a New York-based anti-fraud act. In the ICO of their CSD token which launched in December 2017, Coinseed raised more than $100,000 by selling 200,000 tokens.
The Attorney General stated investors were misled about the potential to profit from CSD Tokens, which were distributed by the defendants despite their failure to register as securities dealers.
“Investors were led to expect profits solely from the Defendants’ efforts to establish, operate and expand the Coinseed mobile application. Defendants, however, were not registered as securities dealers with the OAG as required by General Business Law,” she said.
The complaint also accuses Coinseed’s execs of misleading clients about their professional backgrounds and misrepresenting information about the extent to which trading fees were charged to investors.
The document also cites an online post published by Coinseed to lure investors into participating in its ICO:
“This is a great opportunity for young people who want to make money in the crypto market. Many of them are likely to take advantage of the app as a stepping stone to bigger investments in the virtual currency space. This is guaranteed to play a role in pushing up the value of the Coinseed token once it hits the market.”
The complaint added: “In truth, nearly three years later, the CSD token has not been listed anywhere.”
However Davaasambuu told Business Insider he denies the allegations and that Coinseed did not allow U.S. users to participate in its ICO and has not accepted any users from New York since 2018.
“I’m 100% sure that the suit is full of false accusations. Embarrassingly bad,” he said.
The Attorney General appears intent on shutting down Coinseed operations, as she seeks an order to direct the defendants to pay damages caused, disgorge all obtained amounts, pay restitution to investors, and for them to be permanently barred from dealing with securities and commodities in New York.
Letitia James is no stranger to invoking the Martin Act on crypto-based ventures, as she is currently involved in the ongoing lawsuit against crypto exchange Bitfinex and stablecoin issuer Tether. Cases against cryptocurrencies for being unlicensed securities are also the flavor of the month, as seen in the recent SEC case against Ripple Labs and its XRP token.