Faded Hollywood action star Steven Seagal has agreed to pay $314,000 to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission that he violated anti-touting provisions of federal securities laws.
The SEC said Seagal, whose films included “Above the Law”and “Out for Justice,” did not disclose payments he received for promoting an investment in an initial coin offering conducted by Bitcoiin2Gen.
Regulators said Seagal was promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of B2G tokens for his work as a brand ambassador. He agreed to pay $157,000 in disgorgement and a $157,000 penalty. He also agreed not to promote any securities, digital or otherwise, for three years.
Seagal, in his settlement, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
“These investors were entitled to know about payments Seagal received or was promised to endorse this investment so they could decide whether he may be biased,” Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC enforcement division’s cyber unit, said in a statement. “Celebrities are not allowed to use their social media influence to tout securities without appropriately disclosing their compensation.”
The charges against Seagal had not been previously disclosed.
A press release from Bitcoiin2Gen issued March 26, 2018, thanked Seagal for his support during the ICO period and said the cryptocurrency was becoming, “a genuinely anonymous cryptocurrency with no individual or individuals having control over the entity!” On March 7, 2018, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities had entered a cease and desist order against Bitcoiin2Gen alleging that it was fraudulently selling unregistered securities.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather and socialite Paris Hilton are among the celebrities who have publicly touted cryptocurrencies. Regulators have warned that such endorsements could be unlawful if they fail to disclose compensation. Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled have been fined for unlawfully touting cryptocurrencies.
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