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美国:两年查获90起加密诈骗案,仅追回3600万美元

据《华尔街日报》报道,在过去两年中美国监管机构针对90起加密货币欺诈案件发起了诉讼。

虽然很难确定投资者损失了多少资金,但联邦和州一级的监管机构只追回了3600万美元,这个数字被认为微不足道,资金难以追查的主要原因是加密货币的匿名性和无国界性。

《华尔街日报》的一份分析还发现,当价格达到历史高点时,监管机构提起的案件数量要少于市场看跌时的相应数量。上个月,美国证券交易委员会已经提起了五起诉讼案件,然而在整个2017年,只有4起。

州级监管方:70项行动,追回资金为零

从另一方面来看,美国州级监管机构在过去一年采取了70多项加密货币执法行动,但没有一项行动能帮助投资者追回资金。

其中最引人注目的是被指传销币的BitConnect项目,美国证券交易委员会和州级监管机构都对BitConnect进行了详细调查。今年1月份的报道显示,在收到德克萨斯州证券委员会(TSSB)的紧急停止令后,市值达到约28亿美元的BitConnect就被迫关门停业了。

当时,TSSB指控BitConnect违反了《德克萨斯州证券法》的一些条款,这些条款禁止在没有州证券专员授权的情况下出售证券:

“因此,法院命令被告BitConnect立即停止在德克萨斯州出售证券。直到在证券专员处登记,或满足《德克萨斯州证券法》豁免注册的规定时,才能恢复证券销售。”

TSSB当时发布的一份报告指定BitConnect涉嫌欺诈,原因是该公司隐瞒公司负责人的身份,以及向投资者承诺支付120%年利率的收入产生方式。

诉讼案数量大幅上升

除了监管机构的行动频率有所上升之外,在过去一年中,针对涉嫌加密货币欺诈的诉讼案件数量也在大幅增加。今年9月份分析公司Lex Machina编制的一份报告显示,与2017年全年相比,2018年上半年的加密货币诉讼案件数量增长了两倍,该报告指出:

“在2018年前两个季度,与加密货币或比特币相关的证券案件数量大幅上升。利用Legal Analytics的关键字搜索功能发现,与这一新兴领域相关的案件申请量从2017年第四季度的7起激增至2018年一季度的22起和第二季度的23起。”

Regulators in the United States have filed over 90 cryptocurrency fraud cases in the last two years, the Wall Street Journal reports.

While it is difficult to determine the amount that investors have lost, regulators at both the federal and state level have only managed to get back US$36 million, a figure considered paltry. What has made it difficult to trace funds is the anonymous and borderless nature of cryptocurrencies.

An analysis conducted by the Journal also found that fewer cases were filed by the regulators when prices were reaching record highs compared to the number that of cases that were filed as the market took a bearish turn. Last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for instance filed five cases while in the entire 2017, only four cases were filed.

No Reprieve for Investors

State regulators have on the other hand brought over 70 cryptocurrency-enforcement actions in the past year, though none of the actions has resulted in investors getting their money back.

Among the most prominent alleged frauds was BitConnect which is under investigation by both the SEC and state regulators. After reaching approximately US$2.8 billion in market value, BitConnect’s flameout begun upon shutting down operations following a cease-and-desist order issued by the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) in January as CCN reported.

Texas Officials Strike BitConnect with Cease and Desist Order

— CCN (@CryptoCoinsNews) January 5, 2018

At the time, the TSSB accused BitConnect of violating some sections of the Texas Securities Act which prohibit the selling of securities without the authority of the state’s Securities Commissioner.

It is therefore ORDERED that Respondent BitConnect immediately CEASE and DESIST from offering for sale any security in Texas until the security is registered with the Securities Commissioner or is offered for sale pursuant to an exemption from registration under the Texas Securities Act.

A report released by the TSSB at the time accused BitConnect of engaging in fraud by virtue of the fact that it concealed the identities of the firm’s principals as well as failing to reveal how it would generate revenues to pay investors the promised annual interest rate of 120%.

Crypto Fraud Lawsuits

Besides the actions of the regulators, lawsuits against purported cryptocurrency fraud schemes have also increased dramatically in the past year. As CCN reported in September, the number of cryptocurrency lawsuits rose threefold in the first half of 2018 compared to the entire 2017 per a report compiled by legal analytics firm Lex Machina:

The first two quarters of 2018 saw a significant rise in the number of securities cases relating to cryptocurrency or Bitcoin. Using Legal Analytics’ keyword search functionality, Lex Machina discovered case filings relating to this emerging area surged from seven cases in Q4 2017 to 22 cases in Q1 2018 Q1 and 23 cases in Q2.

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