Steven Seagal Charged In Bitcoin Case By the SEC
For decades, Steven Seagal’s cultivated an onscreen image as a righteous crusader for justice. After his action movie career waned, he even appeared in three seasons of a reality television show called Steven Seagal: Lawman, in which he worked as a deputy sheriff in Louisiana. (Imagine getting pulled over for speeding by Steven Seagal.)
Now, however, Seagal has found himself on the other end of a legal case. The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that they have settled a matter with Seagal in which he allegedly “violated the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws.” The SEC press release states that “without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, Seagal agreed to pay $157,000 in disgorgement, which represents his actual promotional payments, plus prejudgment interest, and a $157,000 penalty.” Seagal will also agree not to promote securities for three years.
The SEC’s case argued that Seagal “failed to disclose he was promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of B2G tokens in exchange for his promotions, which included posts on his public social media accounts.” They also cite a press release from Bitcoiin2Gen with the headline “Zen Master Steven Seagal Has Become the Brand Ambassador of Bitcoiin2Gen.”
Here’s the meat of the legal matter, from the SEC:
A Bitcoiin2Gen press release also included a quotation from Seagal stating that he endorsed the ICO “wholeheartedly.” These promotions came six months after the SEC's 2017 DAO Report warning that coins sold in ICOs may be securities. The SEC has also advised that, in accordance with the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws, any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion.
So let this be a lesson to the zen masters out there in the reading audience: If you are going to promote a security, make sure you disclose exactly how you are compensated. Otherwise, you’re going to be fined too.
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