The state of North Dakota recently ordered the shutdown of a fake cryptocurrency website which carried out unregistered and fake securities in the state.
Cryptocurrency Website Imitating Union Bank AG
According to an official press release by North Dakota, Securities Commissioner, Karen Tyler, issued a cease and desist order against a fake virtual currency company, Union Bank Payment Coin (UBPC), which carried out fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO).
Investigations by the securities department’s ICO Task Force revealed that the UBPC website impersonated an already existing Union bank payment coin launched by Union Bank AG in Liechtenstein. The Union Bank is a fully regulated and licensed bank in Lichtenstein.
Further investigations revealed the fake Union Bank Payment Coin used the announcement made by Union Bank back in August, to dupe unsuspecting investors. The fraudulent website also copied lots of content from the Union Bank website, which it used to promote its fake ICO.
Speaking on the issue of fake ICOs, Commissioner Tyler stated that investors are susceptible to fraudulent ICOs, as they are usually hyped via the internet. The commissioner also said that promoters of fake ICOs could be down the street or on another continent entirely.
Also issuing warnings to investors, Tyler said:
Financial criminals continue to cash in on the hype and excitement around blockchain, crypto assets, and ICOs – investors should be exceedingly cautious when considering a related investment.
The fraudulent UBPC website also aspired to be the “world’s first security token backed by a fully licensed bank.” Also, the company stated that the UBPC is fully pegged to the Swiss franc.
The regulatory body traced the IP address behind the fake UBPC to Russia and discovered it was registered to an individual. In contrast, the IP address of the real website is in Liechtenstein.
War Against Unregulated ICOs in the US
Most firms typically introduce pump and dump ICOs schemes, with the sole aim of fleecing investors. The United States SEC have particularly taken a strict stance on ICOs, issuing fines and warnings to erring companies. State regulators are also not left out, as they seek to protect unsuspecting investors.
The North Dakota regulatory body last month issued a cease and desist order against three erring firms running unregistered and fake securities. The companies operated their fraudulent activities under the guise of an ICO.
The United States SEC recently released a report which revealed that the regulatory body made the fight against fraudulent ICOs a priority.
Colorado’s regulatory body also ordered four digital currency companies to cease the operation of unregistered ICOs. According to the order, the companies violated the state’s Securities Act.