SafeMoon (SFM) has experienced a significant decline, with a 54% drop in daily charts, a 51.1% decrease in weekly charts, and a substantial 72.9% decrease over the past year. This latest downturn in SafeMoon’s value coincides with the apprehension of its co-founders, John Karony, Kyle Nagy, and Thomas Smith. These individuals have been accused of participating in an international fraud scheme involving millions of dollars. Their alleged infractions include violating the registration and anti-fraud provisions outlined in the Securities Act of 1933 and also breaching the anti-fraud provisions established in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The arrest followed action by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which filed charges against the company for the sale of unregistered securities. Furthermore, according to the SEC’s official statement, the company is accused of orchestrating an extensive fraudulent operation by engaging in the unregistered sale of the cryptocurrency asset SafeMoon.
Financial Scandal at SafeMoon: Executives Accused of Theft
As per the allegations, the company engaged in fraudulent activities, deceiving investors, and diverting funds for personal enrichment. According to the SEC, the company’s executives siphoned more than $200 million from the company, using these funds to purchase McLaren cars and luxury residences. At its zenith, SFM achieved a market capitalization of approximately $5.7 billion, experiencing an astonishing surge of over 55,000% between March 12 and April 20, 2021. However, it came to public attention that certain portions of SFM’s liquidity pool remained unlocked, resulting in a 50% plummet in the token’s value during 2021.
Furthermore, Karony and Smith face charges of utilizing the misappropriated funds to acquire SFM tokens with the intention of stabilizing prices. Additionally, Karony established a trading account for purchasing SFM, purportedly to give the impression of market activity, a practice referred to as wash trading, as stated in the complaint.
In 2023, the U.S. SEC has intensified its efforts to address irregularities within the cryptocurrency industry. The regulatory body has already filed lawsuits against major players like Binance and the U.S.-based exchange Coinbase. Earlier this year, the SEC faced a setback in its legal battle against Ripple when a U.S. court ruled that XRP did not qualify as a security.
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